Wizards take 1-0 series lead vs Hawks
The second round of the 2015 NBA playoffs began today with a road win by the Washington Wizards in Atlanta. Here’s the Washington Post blog reporting:
The Wizards repeated the feat Sunday, rolling off the Atlanta Hawks’ explosive punches to erase a 12-point third-quarter deficit and stun the hosts, 104-98, and seize control of another series at Philips Arena. With the victory, Washington improved to 8-1 on the road in the playoffs the past two seasons under Coach Randy Wittman. The Wizards are the first team in NBA history to win four straight Game 1s on the road.
Bradley Beal headed the effort with 28 points but sprained his right ankle in the fourth quarter. He returned but was held scoreless the rest of the way. John Wall played through a left wrist injury he suffered in the second period to post 18 points, 13 assists, and seven rebounds. Marcin Gortat added 12 points and 12 rebounds.
DeMarre Carroll erupted for 21 points in the first half — the most a Hawks player has scored in a half this season – but was held to just three in the second half. His 24 points led five Hawks in double figures. Al Horford (17 points and 17 rebounds) and Paul Millsap (15 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists) each registered double-doubles but Atlanta was held to 35 points in the second half after recording 37 in the first quarter alone.
Atlanta Hawks sale agreement reached
The Atlanta Hawks today announced that a definitive agreement has been signed for the purchase of the NBA franchise by an ownership group led by Tony Ressler, co-founder of Ares Management. The group also includes seven-time NBA All-Star Grant Hill, Clayton Dubilier & Rice partner Rick Schnall, and Spanx founder Sara Blakely and Marquis Jet co-founder Jesse Itzler, who are married.
The transaction, which includes operation of Philips Arena, requires the approval of the NBA Board of Governors. Terms of the sale were not released.
“We are honored and thrilled to have been chosen to become the new stewards of the Hawks,” said Ressler. “We respect the NBA’s approval process and, accordingly, can say no more other than we are incredibly excited by the Hawks’ success and wish them luck in the playoffs.”
“We are excited to welcome this new ownership group and are deeply gratified by its commitment to the Hawks and the Atlanta community,” said Hawks CEO Steve Koonin. “We are pleased that the group is committed to continue building on the franchise’s storied history and recent success.”
The sellers were advised by Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Inner Circle Sports, and the buyer by Moelis & Co.
Atlanta Hawks sale agreement may come soon
While the Atlanta Hawks are enjoying an amazing season and busy winning playoff games, team ownership is reportedly succeeding in finding new owners. Here’s Yahoo Sports reporting the latest development:
Private equity billionaire Antony Ressler is leading a group that is finalizing a deal to purchase the Atlanta Hawks, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Ressler’s group will purchase the team from majority owner Bruce Levenson for a figure somewhere between $700-plus million and $900 million, sources told Yahoo Sports.
Former NBA All-Star Grant Hill and Atlanta entrepreneur Jesse Itzler will be investors in the group, sources said.
Mike Budenholzer wins 2014-2015 NBA Coach of Year award
Atlanta Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer, who guided the team to the best regular season in franchise history, is the recipient of the Red Auerbach Trophy as the 2014-15 NBA Coach of the Year, the NBA announced today.
Budenholzer received 67 first-place votes and 513 total points from a panel of 130 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. The Golden State Warriors’ Steve Kerr, who led the Pacific Division champions to a franchise-record and NBA-high 67 victories in his first season as an NBA coach, finished second with 56 first-place votes and 471 total points. Jason Kidd of the Milwaukee Bucks was third with one first-place vote and 57 total points. Coaches were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote.
Budenholzer led Atlanta to a 60-22 record in his second season, three games better than the previous team high of 57-25 set in 1986-87 and matched in 1993-94. The Hawks earned both the No. 1 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference and a division title (Southeast Division) for the first time since 1993-94 — the last season they had the NBA Coach of the Year (Lenny Wilkens). Atlanta made the playoffs for the eighth consecutive year, the longest active streak in the East.
After posting a 38-44 record last season, Budenholzer oversaw a 22-win improvement rooted in balance on offense and teamwork on defense. According to NBA.com/Stats, Atlanta tied for sixth in the league in offensive rating (points scored per 100 possessions) and ranked seventh in defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions). Six players averaged double figures in scoring, but none eclipsed 17 points per game. The Hawks set a franchise record for three-pointers with 818, ranked second in the NBA in assists (25.7 apg) and finished in the top five in field goal percentage (fourth), three-point field goal percentage (second) and free throw percentage (fifth).
Atlanta opened the season 5-5 before winning 35 of its next 38 games, a stretch that included a franchise-record 19-game winning streak. The 35-3 run also featured a 17-0 January, the best calendar month in NBA history and a perfect run that earned the Hawks’ starting five the Kia NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Month and Budenholzer his second NBA Eastern Conference Coach of the Month award of the season. The honors continued when a team-record four Hawks players were selected to the NBA All-Star Game, coached on the East team by Budenholzer.
Howard happily gets to focus on the upcoming playoffs
Here’s the Houston Chronicle reporting on Rockets center Dwight Howard, who will fortunately get to focus on the upcoming NBA playoffs instead of off-court issues:
Atlanta (Ga.) Police will not press charges of child abuse against Rockets center Dwight Howard, according to Atlanta Police spokesman Sgt. Gregory Lyon.
“We have investigated this case and are not moving forward with charges,” Lyon said via email.
The mother of one of Howard’s children had alleged that Howard had caused bruises on their then six-year-old son. The case was originally investigated by the Florida Department of Children and Families, but no charges were brought.
Mike Budenholzer gives credit to Danny Ferry
Here’s the Atlanta Journal Constitution reporting on the Hawks, whose success has been one of the top stories of the 2015-16 NBA season:
Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer credited general manager Danny Ferry as the person most responsible for assembling the current roster.
With Ferry on an indefinite leave of absence, Budenholzer was the Hawks nomination for the NBA’s Executive of the Year award the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Saturday. Budenholzer was named head of basketball operations in September.
“Anyone who has followed the Hawks for the last two or three years knows that Danny Ferry is the executive who is most responsible for the makeup of our team,” Budenholzer said Sunday before the Hawks played the Wizards. “Danny is responsible for me being here. Our team is in a good place. I’m very grateful to work with such good players and with such a great staff.”
Budenholzer, Hawks enjoying amazing success
Here’s the Atlanta Journal Constitution reporting on the Hawks, whose success has been a terrific season-long story:
With general manager Danny Ferry on a leave of absence the entire season, the Hawks submitted head coach Mike Budenholzer for consideration in voting for the NBA’s Executive of the Year Award, a person familiar with the situation told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Budenholzer has been serving as the head of basketball operations since September when Ferry took the leave following the discovery of racially insensitive remarks about free-agent target Luol Deng during a June conference call with team ownership and management. At that time, CEO Steve Koonin elevated Budenholzer to lead the basketball operations and make final decisions.
The Hawks clinched the Southeast Division title and the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference last month as part of a record-breaking season. The team extended its franchise record for wins in a season with its 60th victory Friday night. The Hawks have also had a franchise record 19-game win streak, which included an NBA record 17-0 mark in January. The win streak is the longest in Atlanta professional sports history.
Thabo Sefolosha suffers major injuries from incident outside NYC nightclub
Atlanta Hawks forward Thabo Sefolosha suffered injuries during yesterday’s early morning incident where he was arrested near the 1OAK nightclub in New York City after Pacers forward Chris Copeland had been stabbed. But did these injuries occur due to the arrest from police, or did something else happen with Thabo beforehand that we don’t know about? We do not know this.
An examination of Sefolosha’s right leg, including an X-ray at Barclays Center yesterday and an MRI today at Peachtree Orthopaedics revealed a fractured fibula and ligament damage that will require surgery. He is out for the remainder of the season, including the entire postseason, and a timeline for his return will be updated at a later date.
“This is a very difficult situation for Thabo and our thoughts and support will be with him during his recovery. We know that his approach and dedication will serve him well in his rehabilitation,” Head Coach Mike Budenholzer said. “Our team remains focused and will be prepared as we head into the postseason.”
Thabo Sefolosha — Video of Brutal Clash with Cops … Headlocked & Taken Down
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Hawks sign Austin Daye to multi-year contract
The Atlanta Hawks have signed forward Austin Daye to a multi-year contract, it was announced today by Head Coach Mike Budenholzer. He signed consecutive 10-day contracts with the Hawks on March 15 and March 25.
Daye has appeared in five games with the Hawks, and also played in 26 contests earlier this season with the San Antonio Spurs.
Hawks sign Austin Daye to second 10-day contract
The Atlanta Hawks (53-17, having amazing season, but struggling a bit recently) have signed forward Austin Daye to a second 10-day contract, it was announced today by Head Coach Mike Budenholzer.
Daye has appeared in two games with the Hawks. He also played in 26 contests (four starts) earlier this season with the San Antonio Spurs, averaging 4.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in 10.3 minutes.
In 10 games this season with the Erie BayHawks of the NBA Development League, Daye averaged 16.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.1 blocks in 28.5 minutes.
Thabo Sefolosha should return soon for Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks are 53-14 through Tuesday’s games, enjoying an incredible season, and should get deeper any game now. Here’s the Atlanta Journal Constitution reporting:
Thabo Sefolosha competed in three-on-three work following Hawks shootaround Wednesday, a sign the guard/forward is close to a return from a calf injury.
Sefolosha has missed the past 20 games due to a Grade 3 strain of his right calf suffered against the Trail Blazers on Jan. 30. The original diagnosis called for Sefolosha to miss 6 to 8 weeks.
Last week Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said Sefolosha is “making the progress that we expect.”
With most starters out, Hawks beat Lakers
The Atlanta Hawks are 52-14 this season, which is the best record in the Eastern conference and second best in the NBA behind the 52-13 Warriors. They believe a deep playoff run is possible. Which means they need to keep their squad healthy, and a good way to do that is to rest key players when their game schedule gets a little too crowded. Here’s the Atlanta Journal Constitution reporting:
What difference does another starter make?
The Hawks were already resting three starters – Jeff Teague, DeMarre Carroll and Paul Millsap – when they lost Kyle Korver to a broken nose during Sunday’s game against the lowly Lakers.
It didn’t matter.
Al Horford, the lone remaining starter, had 21 points, five rebounds, five steals and three assists as the Hawks defeated the Lakers 91-86 Sunday night at Staples Center. Horford played a normal 35 minutes as the Hawks controlled much of the game and a held off a Lakers’ fourth-quarter rally in a reserve-lead effort.
Dennis Schroder had a game- and career-high 24 points to go with 10 assists. His layup with 13.9 seconds left stopped a 16-2 Lakers run. He added two free throws in the closing seconds to ice the win.
Kyle Korver shooting slump may be over
Here’s the Atlanta Journal Constitution reporting on Hawks sharpshooter Kyle Korver, who wasn’t quite so sharp for a while but seems to have regained the ability to do what he’s famous for:
It’s hard to argue with the benefits of an off day for Kyle Korver.
The Hawks guard was mired in a shooting slump for more than a month. His frustration was becoming evident as he couldn’t find his rhythm.
So when the team departed for a road game at Philadelphia last week, coach Mike Budenholzer told Korver to stay home. Get away from the game and clear your mind, he said. Korver missed the March 7 loss to the 76ers and didn’t touch a basketball during the brief time off. A weight lifting session and a chiropractic appointment were his only work-related activities.
There was plenty to get away from. Since Feb. 4, Korver was shooting 36.2 percent, including 34.6 percent from 3-point range.
However, in the three games since the hiatus, Korver is shooting 72 percent (18 of 25) from the field. That includes a stunning 73.7 percent (14 of 19) from long distance.
Atlanta Hawks forward Mike Scott suffered a left toe injury against the Denver Nuggets on March 11 that was initially diagnosed as a strain. After further consultation and an MRI examination, taken yesterday at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Phoenix, a fracture of his left great toe was revealed. He will see a foot specialist at Peachtree Orthopaedics in Atlanta on Monday to determine the appropriate course of action. A timeline for his return will be updated at a later date.
Pero Antic hopes to re-sign with Hawks
Here’s the Atlanta Journal Constitution reporting on a Hawks reserve who doesn’t play much but is enjoying being part of a successful squad and hopes to stick around in the future:
The Macedonian is in the final season of the two-year contract he signed with the Hawks in 2013. The center left Europe for a rookie season in the NBA at the age of 31. Now, he’d like to stay beyond that original deal…
The feeling is mutual. When Hawks management plans for next season, nearly every scenario includes Antic. The versatility of the 6-foot-11, 265-pound center has played a key role in the Hawks’ system under head coach Mike Budenholzer. The coach raves about Antic’s ability to stretch the floor from the center position. Yet, he’d rather talk about his defense, basketball IQ and leadership…
Antic signed a two-year, $2.45 million contract. The Hawks picked up his team option of $1.25 million this summer. Antic was selected to the Rising Stars Challenge, the rookie-sophomore exhibition, at last year’s All-Star Game. He finished his first NBA season appearing in 50 games and averaging 7.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 18.5 minutes. He shot .418 from the field, including .327 from 3-point range.
Hawks handle Cavs in key East battle
Here’s the Cleveland Plain Dealer reporting on the Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks, who appear to be the two best teams in the Eastern conference — especially if key Chicago Bulls keep suffering injuries:
The Atlanta Hawks treated the Cavaliers as if it were postseason time in Friday’s 106-97 home win. They showed their hand defensively, tormenting the visitors with a heavy dose of blitzes and traps in their pick-and-roll coverages.
If there was a time when LeBron James and Kyrie Irving were able to elude the defense and turn the corner, there were a flock of Hawks waiting near the painted area to deter them from finishing around the rim.
It led to contested shots and difficult cross-court passes. Either way, the percentages of securing a defensive stop were in the Hawks’ favor. James was limited to 13 field-goal attempts and he only converted on five. He coughed up the ball a game-high nine times.
Irving was better but not great, coming away with 20 points on 7-of-16 shooting while committing five turnovers. Atlanta’s scheme was evident: Get the ball out of hands of the playmakers and make the others beat them.
Atlanta Hawks sign Jarell Eddie to 10-day contract
The Atlanta Hawks have signed rookie guard Jarell Eddie (first name is pronounced “jur-RELL”) to a 10-day contract, it was announced today by Head Coach Mike Budenholzer.
Eddie has appeared in 37 games this season with the Austin Spurs of the NBA Development League, averaging 11.9 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 25.6 minutes (his .422 3FG% ranks ninth in the D-League). During the 2015 All-Star Weekend, Eddie won the D-League Three-Point Contest.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “the 6-foot-7 Eddie passed his physical with the Hawks and was officially signed Thursday. He practiced with the team and will be available for Friday’s game against the Cavaliers at Philips Arena. The 10-day contract will expire March 15. The Hawks can sign him to a second 10-day contract. After that, the team would have to sign him for the remainder of the season.”
Eddie participated in the Hawks’ 2014 training camp, and played in three preseason contests. He saw action in the 2014 Las Vegas NBA Summer League with the Washington Wizards.
He played four seasons at Virginia Tech, and as a senior in 2013-14, averaged 13.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 32.6 minutes.
Eddie will wear uniform no. 3.
Some bids to buy Atlanta Hawks are reportedly for around $900 million
Here’s Bloomberg reporting on the Atlanta Hawks, who are for sale:
Tampa Bay Rays part-owner Randy Frankel and ComPsych Corp. founder Richard Chaifetz are among the bidders for the National Basketball Association’s Atlanta Hawks, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter.
Some of the bids were for about $900 million, the people said, declining to be specific.
The people requested anonymity because the bidding isn’t public. The team, which is on the market after lead owner Bruce Levenson disclosed a racially insensitive e-mail, retained Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Inner Circle Sports to run the sale.
Here’s the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporting on Sunday NBA action:
Milwaukee’s seven-game home winning streak came to an end Sunday afternoon at the hands of the Eastern Conference-leading Atlanta Hawks.
The Bucks dug out of a deep hole to tie the game in the third quarter but could not survive a fourth-quarter surge by the Hawks and dropped a 97-86 decision at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
Kyle Korver found his shooting touch and Paul Millsap finished with 23 points and 15 rebounds as the Hawks (44-12) avoided a three-game skid.
All five Hawks starters were in double figures, including Al Horford with 15 points, Korver with 12 and DeMarre Carroll and Jeff Teague with 10 each.
Here’s the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporting on a two-time NBA All-Star who knows that he’s got to stay focused and keep that edge to build upon his success. Or, to put it another way, Millsap knows people still doubt his stardom and he wants to shut those fools up:
Paul Millsap is now a two-time NBA All-Star. Yet, he admits there is still a chip on his shoulder.
No amount of success, personal or team-related, is about to knock it off.
“Let’s be honest. There are a lot of doubters still out there,” Millsap said. “But within yourself, you have to find different ways to motivate yourself. I will never be satisfied. I will always strive to get better.”
Millsap has made gigantic strides improving on an already steady career. He has made the All-Star team in both of his seasons with the Hawks. He never made it in his first seven seasons with the Jazz. Millsap credits the Hawks’ offensive system that has allowed him to pull back the curtain and expose his full game.