Short takes: Horford comes through, and Teague bows out

The Hawks’ Al Horford hits the game-winning shot to beat Washington and give his team a 3-2 series lead. (Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com)

The Hawks' Al Horford hits the game-winning shot to beat Washington and give his team a 3-2 series lead. (Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com)

The Hawks’ Al Horford hits the game-winning shot to beat Washington and give his team a 3-2 series lead. (Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com)

So you might’ve heard by now: The Hawks won a game Wednesday night to take a 3-2 series lead over the Washington Wizards in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Here’s a link to the game column.

Here are my three “short takes” on the game:

1. BIG AL’S BIG MOMENT: Al Horford is the senior member of the Hawks so it was fitting that he should be central to the biggest win of this postseason so far. He was a force at both ends of the court, leading the team with 23 points, 11 rebounds, five blocks and two assists — and won the game with a last-second rebound and put back. “Al was a monster for us,” said Jeff Teague. “He’s the cornerstone of the franchise,” said Kyle Korver.

2. TEAGUE GIVES WAY TO SCHRODER: How rare is it that a starter will turn down a chance to go into a game because he thinks his backup is playing too good to take out? That happened in Game 5. Teague hit some key shots but he did not have a great game against the Wizards (seven turnovers) and he played only 5:33 of the fourth quarter. Coach Mike Budenholzer attempted to send Teague into the game for the final few minutes. With Teague waiting at the scorer’s table, Dennis Schroder hit a pull-up jumper with 2:55 left to give the Hawks a 76-73 lead. That’s when Teague walked back to the bench. “We got a steal and Dennis hit a pull-up jumper and I just said, ‘Let it go man. Let him ride it out.'”

3. KORVER’S NON-SHOOTING IMPACT: Kyle Korver was scoreless (0-for-4) until hitting a three-point shot with 4:58 left to help the Hawks rally from a nine-point deficit (73-64). But he impacted the Hawks in other ways. He blocked two shots in the first half. He had five rebounds and six steals — none bigger than with 19.9 seconds left against Paul Pierce when the game was tied 78-78. The steal ignited a fastbreak, which was finished by DeMarre Carroll. “I saw (Pierce) kind of turn his back,” Korver said. “I thought there was an opening to take a swipe at it.”

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Reader Comments 0

39 comments
Wilbo
Wilbo

Just because my favorite athlete won't admit he was wrong, doesn't mean I can't...


One of my very favorite things is to say how much Atlanta pro sports teams and the people who write about them suck. The Atlanta Hawks have shown a lot more and done a lot better this postseason than I ever thought they would.


Good for them and good for all of you who think they are so hip.


My bad. (but they'll probably choke like sick dogs in the conference finals)

braves for life
braves for life

Fantastic finished,Al Horford you the man.you deserve to be recognized..congrats.

moboman
moboman

Amazing that 2 days after Teague played a great game and put the dagger in Washington with his clutch 3ball at the end that quelled any hopes of Washington winning, he's getting bashed on radio and in blogs for yielding to Dennis when he realized that Dennis had it going and was leading the team to a win.  Thats unselfish team ball, and he as done that for Dennis as well as Shelvin when he's been hot.  Yet there are those that are bashing him (after a big victory) for not going back in when it was an off night and Dennis was on.


Unbelievable.

JSSN
JSSN

Damn, and they call me negative! Last night was a game they could have lost! They won! Come out motivated in DC, no more of these confounding 18 point quarters! Drive to the basket, good things will happen!

Farcas
Farcas

Man, some serious whiny a**es on here today. We are up 3-2 not down 3-1! Armchair coaches are always a joke.

slydawg
slydawg

1. I see no absolute value in Kyle Korver starting at this point. The Hawks do not have enough go to scorers in order to take the defense's attention away from him plus his defense is almost non-existent.


2. Start Schroder or Carroll in the backcourt, along with Teague and go back to the 10 man rotation you had during the season. The Hawks did not get better because of some untapped potential; the sum is truly better than it's parts and the playoffs have magnetized the lack of great talent on this roster. Coach Bud needs to use "his" formula that got them to this point, not Pop's or any other coach who normally shortnes their rotation during the playoffs. We are struggling with a team who is giving quality minutes to Will Bynum and Drew Gooden. Enough said.


Give Shelvin Mack, Mike Scott, and Elton Brand some minutes; surely they are better than these two scrubs. Start Muscala, Horford, and Milsap along the front line the rest of the playoffs.


3. Defensively, this team is missing Sefalosha's energy and minutes


4. Trading Adriean Payne too early was a mistake


5. There seems to be a disturbing trend of Hawks players being praised for selflessness; Well, I'm all for it when it comes to sharing the basketball and being accountable, not when it comes to lack of desire to get back in the game and take the responsibility of winning it. Sorry, folks, the team concept and being a quiet, unasuming person, is fine as long as you have some "dogs" on the roster. This team has one in Horford, but he's not a transcendent player. My backup point guard, for all his warts and lack of experience, has way more dog in him than my starter, but we all knew that last season.

Ficklefan
Ficklefan

A Tale of Two Teams


I.  Hi Kyle, I'll be guarding you tonight. You know the drill. Please pull out the waist band of your jock strap so I can get my leg down in there. And yes, we know the rules. When you go out of the game, get hurt, get sick, have to take take a potty break, etc. We will immediately disengage. I know this is inconvenient, and a little too close for comfort for both us us, but teams have learned that if they can shut you down, their chances of winning go way up. Fortunately for us, no one on your coaching staff or on your team as noticed this. I know, you'll touch the ball a couple of times, I'll be "in you jock" - no pun intended - and then they will just kind of forget about you. We like it when that happens. So. How's the family? 


II. Oh man, this is so close. We're up by two points with 8 seconds left. We have got to hold them. We cannot let them get a three pointer. OK. The ball is in. Where's Pierce? I dunno. I haven't seen. Hey Paul, where's Pierce? I dunno. Jeff, have you seen Pierce? No. Al? Have you seen him? No. Kyle?  Oh Wait!. Oh NO!  There he is --  he's over there wide open in the corner with the ball. Someone should hurry up and  go guard him before shoots . . . . Oh NO!


How can other teams who play the Hawks shut down our three point shooter, while their three point shooters run rampant? Bud? I dunno. 



RogerBurke
RogerBurke

Teavue looks like he has mono or something wrong


tmc
tmc

i still can't believe the Hawks won that game last night. They had NO business even coming close to a chance of winning that game. It says more about the Wizards that they lost that game then the Hawks winning it (IMO). The Wiz should have buried the Hawks way before the end of the game. I'm glad they didn't!

I still don't get Pero getting minutes over Muscala. Mike Muscala played great in the first half, 8 pts in 8 minutes... he was everywhere. Then in the 2nd half, Pero's the first one off the bench. Look i get it, from all accounts Pero is a good guy. But i watch him play and see a poor-man's Josh Smith with the results Pero produces every night. He couldn't come close to defending Brook Lopez nor either of Washington's big men. I see him in position to get rebounds a lot, but he either falls down or jumps awkwardly and miss a chance at catching the ball. And on offense, he is missing wide open (for a reason) shots on a constant basis. Yet, he still is getting many minutes.

With Korver's struggling to score at all, it puts a lot more pressure on the rest of the offense. Pero is a liability. Teague is so iconsistent. It allows the other team to focus solely on Al, Millsap and Carroll.

Buddy2757
Buddy2757

I think Scott, Mack, and even Brand briefly could add a lot of depth to our suddenly short bench rotation…I understand that the playoffs is a different animal but I don't get it??? Why the complete change in philosophy?

SouthernHope5
SouthernHope5

Like I heard on the radio this morning, when Paul Pierce retires, I plan to be in attendance that day just to make sure that he goes through with it.  And, going forward, I don't want to even see him near an arena wearing basketball shoes when my team is playing.

Buddy2757
Buddy2757

Could we not use his athleticism for a few key minutes per game?

Buddy2757
Buddy2757

Can anybody explain to me why Mike Scott has been completely non existent during this series??? Don't understand at all.

creative
creative

@Buddy2757 I don't understand either. Just for a 5 minute spark when everyone is missing or something.  He won a couple of games for us this season.  And with Thabo out.  No clue.  

Ihateorange
Ihateorange

Agree 100% Darial.  Also impressed with Teague - how many NBA starters would voluntarily NOT go into a game because they thought their sub was doing better ?  Not many....  Shows the team first mentality of this team...awesome.

DarlaLewis
DarlaLewis

Al Horford deserves all the praise he's getting, especially since he had two years where injury dictated everything. This guy put the team on his back last night.

hardworkinman
hardworkinman

Can't stand the Wizards. Wall, and Pierce especially, talk trash the whole game. It was so gratifying to see Horford put the Wizards away after all the celebrating Pierce did after hitting his shot. 

The home crowd was huge and played a big role in this win. Hawks need to finish these guys off in game six.



DarlaLewis
DarlaLewis

@hardworkinman  Not only did they trash talk, the last game they won-- I saw a celebration with red and blue ribbons and the works, seemingly like they won a championship.

Dman
Dman

He was screaming "series" after he made that 3 point shot. He was the first to leave the floor after they lost. Loved it...

TPCP
TPCP

Horford was a beast last night. He "willed" that win last night. Just refused to lose. I wish the rest of our team would get that fire. As for Schroder, I like his aggressiveness, but he takes a lot of terrible shots. Needs to look for his team-mates more. I hope everybody brings their "A" game in Washington for game six. Go Hawks!

Harpie
Harpie

The Hawks came through! Come on, guys- keep it going and show people that basketball is a Team game , not a superstar game!

LakeDawg
LakeDawg

Teague is not ready for prime time. Glad to see Korver play some D, but he has been a real liability in the playoffs. Horford has been a beast is is the team's MVP.

Digitalsapien
Digitalsapien

@LakeDawg What the hell are you talking about? Teague carried the team last game. Other teams are keying Korver hard as well which is why things are opening up inside for Al and penetration from the perimeter.

LakeDawg
LakeDawg

@Digitalsapien @LakeDawg Teague is not consistent. Looks great at times and then disappears. Can't have that from your PG/Leader. Teague has been torched defensively by every guard he has faced in the playoffs. Korver has been an ordinary 3 pt shooter in the playoffs......even when open. For a one trick pony that is not good. He has been torched on defense, also...until this last game, for which I applaud him.

David McCallum
David McCallum

I'm Starting to wonder if Jeff Teague is intimidated by John Wall. Game 6 will confirm that for me.

DarlaLewis
DarlaLewis

@David McCallum  I strongly disagree a professional athlete doesn't get intimidated. But John Wall is an exceptional basketball player who's long and plays good defense. Also with Teague's nagging ankle sprain he doesn't want to aggravate it-- so he plays accordingly. You will see him pick his spots in the next game.

atlfanman
atlfanman

There is no doubt Schroder is a better on ball defender using his long arms to his advantage than Teague. Turnovers hurt Teague but his shooting percentage from the floor was nearly 50% whereas Schroder was 25%. However, at that point of the game the Hawks needed defense more than they needed offense. It will be interesting to see if Jeff will be more aggressive and productive in game six.


So far the Hawks have not played great in this series. Really glad to see Muscala get into the game. His eight points were needed and length is something the Wizards have to contend with. Going forward the Hawks will need to use Mike Smith to help defend Paul Pearce and use their depth appropriately.


GO HAWKS and close out in six!

DarlaLewis
DarlaLewis

@atlfanman  If you could pull Budenholzer aside and ask him who's the better defensive player Shroeder or Teague, I'd bet my right arm he would say the latter. But what we can agree on is-- both bring something to the table. But Teague is the more valuable in this offense.

WW5
WW5

Teague got a dose of jjs (joe Johnson syndrome),

Stingshuh?
Stingshuh?

I think Schroder should play more minutes from here on out?...............guy hustles and is having "fun".........hasn't figured out it's a job yet?

dirtybirdrises
dirtybirdrises

Funny thing is, Teague tried to leave and follow Larry Drew to the Bucks a few years back...who was subsequently fired... I'm glad he stayed but he needs to attack John Wall who has just been talking trash all series... but you have to wonder.. its the biggest game of the Hawks season and you don't want to play in crunch time???

bpgt
bpgt

@dirtybirdrises  He wasn't doing anything in the 4th quarter.  It honestly looked like he didn't want to be out there.  He was turning the ball over and not playing a lick of defense.  I'm glad Schroeder played the rest of the game.

camelToeJoe
camelToeJoe

@dirtybirdrises


Funny, I thought the last game in DC was the 'biggest game of the season'.  Didn't he dominate the game?



creative
creative

@encroachtinishia @dirtybirdrises It doesn't matter.  If you win a game, your going to win the series, if you lose a game you are going to lose.  If you play just ok or have an off night, you should be benched and you are no good not big tine and intimidated.  If you MAKE some big shots you clutch, put your team on your back.  Logic and Reason is out the window with sports.  If Korver goes 5 for 7 from 3 next game and we win he will be clutch and if he goes 1 for four he is awful and should be off the team, even though he is giving his all no matter what the turnout.  They are pros.  

GMAB
GMAB

I like this TEAM.

PeachtreeBart
PeachtreeBart

Come on, we all know by now that Teague is going against his quiet nature whenever he does play aggressively (once every two or three games).  But Schroder, that kid is a tiger at heart.  Fearless.  If the guy keeps his head straight and learns to shoot better on his drives, he's gonna be our starter sooner rather than later.