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More from Jeff Schultz

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Hawks being visited by ghosts of playoffs past
Nets’ Bojan Bogdanovic (44) and Brook Lopez defend Hawks’ Al Horford in the first quarter of Game 4 of a first-round NBA playoff basketball game, Monday, April 27, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Updated: 11:15 p.m. Monday, April 27, 2015

While dominoes have fortuitously fallen around them in the Eastern Conference playoffs – Toronto, their personal thorn, was swept in its series and Cleveland lost its starting center to a dislocated shoulder – the Hawks have struggled with their identity.They forget that they were supposed to be really good.“We got ...
Hawks’ Horford is coming up short against Lopez
Brooklyn center Brook Lopez drives to the basket against the Hawks’ Al Horford in game three of their NBA playoff series Saturday at Barclays Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA Today)

4:35 p.m. Sunday, April 26, 2015

When an NBA team wins 60 games in the regular season, there is a natural tendency to overlook its liabilities and focus on all of the things it does well. So it follows that when the Hawks were stampeding through the league this season there wasn’t a lot of talk ...
Hawks have let Brooklyn back into series
Ex-Hawk Joe Johnson played more than 42 minutes and finally had reason to celebrate something against his former team. (AP photo)

7:59 p.m. Saturday, April 25, 2015

NEW YORK – They said they didn’t want to let this happen. They let it happen anyway. They said they realized that they really been in sync for a while, but viewed it as a strength that they were still winning games and there was no reason to believe that ...
Hawks (2-0) need to think sweep, not split
Hawks haven’t been perfect in the playoffs but Brooklyn has had a hard time catching up to them, anyway. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

6:02 p.m. Friday, April 24, 2015

They haven’t always shot particularly well, or defended particularly well, and there even have been times when arguably the most focused team in the NBA during the regular season seemed less than zeroed-in.“Our on-the-ball defense could be better,” Kyle Korver said Friday. “We’ve had a lot of blow-bys. That’s not ...
Braves’ starting pitching is falling short
Julio Teheran had a short day in Thursday’s loss to the New York Mets, a disturbing trend among Braves’ starting pitchers. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

7:01 p.m. Thursday, April 23, 2015

April is not the month for scientific samplings and sweeping conclusions in a major league baseball season (even if what is now happening to the Braves has been forecast since maybe November). So I’m not going to tell you all hope is lost (though getting swept by the New York ...
Falcons’ risk-reward scale may tip in new direction

Updated: 4:49 p.m. Tuesday, April 21, 2015

When Michael Vick was indicted for funding and operating a dog-fighting enterprise in 2007, it did more than just train-wreck his NFL career, the Falcons’ season and the abbreviated coaching tenure of Bobby Petrino (who, at least psychologically, was on the next train out of Dodge). Falcons owner Arthur Blank, ...
Hawks need better Millsap for long playoff run
Nets’ Thaddeus Young drives between Pero Antic and Paul Millsap during Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the NBA playoffs at Philips Arena on April 19, 2015. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Updated: 9:51 p.m. Sunday, April 19, 2015

It’s only natural that when a team sets a franchise record for wins, the bar is suddenly raised to record elevation levels – so high that if the Hawks don’t win at least two playoff series, which they’ve never done before, and reach the Eastern Conference finals, the tattooed masses ...
Budenholzer knows what playoff success is about
Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer, during one of his more emotional moments, urges his defense during a recent win over Cleveland. (Curtis Compton, AJC)

4:25 p.m. Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Hawks had the second-best record in the NBA this season for the same reasons any team plays well during a season: 1) The way they were built; 2) the way they were coached. We can debate whether it’s Danny Ferry or Mike Budenholzer or an Atlanta market correction of ...
Hawks hoping to leave Atlanta wreckage behind
Former Hawk Joe Johnson (7) and the Brooklyn Nets are the Hawks’ foe in the first round of the NBA playoffs. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

4:26 p.m. Thursday, April 16, 2015

Long ago, after a certain number of fizzles, flops and all around debacles, the default position for Atlanta sports fans became: doom. Had Sherman rolled through town a century later, burned down the city and left the sports franchises, the response would’ve been: Really, you left us with that? So ...
Jordan Spieth: Perfect champion, perfect story
Jordan Spieth reacts on the 18th green after winning the Masters. (Curtis Compton, AJC)

9:21 p.m. Sunday, April 12, 2015

There’s the hug from his caddie, who used to be a high school math teacher and a girls’ soccer coach. There’s the hug from the parents, who played college sports and went on to raise a beautiful family of five. There’s the hug from his high school sweetheart, and his ...
New, old Phil Mickelson returns to Masters
Phil Mickelson walks up the No. 16 fairway Saturday, with the gallery reflected in the pond. CURTIS COMPTON/CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

8:35 p.m. Saturday, April 11, 2015

This isn’t to suggest that Phil Mickelson is some humble, laid-back everyday kind of man — although there was that time several years ago at the BellSouth Classic when he went through a period of blowing off all media requests, and he gave me the nicest dismissal of my career. ...
Masters
Jordan Spieth tees on on #14. Photos from the third round at the Masters Golf Tournament, Saturday, April 11, 2015. CURTIS COMPTON/CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

1:28 p.m. Saturday, April 11, 2015

1. So now he’s 21…and all grown up? Apparently that practice round Jordan Spieth played at Augusta National six months before his first Masters last year flushed all of the nerves out of his system. Spieth led the 2014 Masters at various points as a 20-year-old, and he is humiliating ...
Spieth: 15 birdies, 1 bogey, Masters domination
Everything is pointing up for Jordan Spieth, who has a five-stroke lead in the Masters with a record 36-hole score of 14 under par. (Brant Sanderlin, AJC)

7:09 p.m. Friday, April 10, 2015

This is the course that intimidates. This is the tournament that awes. This is the place that melts the brains of even the world’s greatest golfers, and should you need any reminding of that, feel free to Google “McIlroy,” “triple bogey” and “Thurston, why is there a golf ball in ...
Woods back, or he’s not, or he is, or he’s not…
Tiger Woods hits from #13 tee. Photos from the first round at the Masters Golf Tournament, Thursday, April 9, 2015. BRANT SANDERLIN/BSANDERLIN@AJC.COM

8:33 p.m. Thursday, April 9, 2015

Whether he’s driving a tee shot into the woods (“I played the wrong shot there”) or rediscovering magic with his short game (“It’s my strength again”), at least one thing about Tiger Woods remained a constant Thursday: He’s great theater. The world’s 111th-ranked player shooting 1 over par shouldn’t be ...
Crenshaw embracing every final Masters moment
Tiger Woods and Ben Crenshaw embrace on the 18th green as they finish up their practice round together for the Masters on Wednesday at Augusta National Golf Club. Crenshaw, a two-time Masters champion, is playing in his final Masters this year. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Updated: 4:41 p.m. Wednesday, April 8, 2015

It took one last practice round to remind the old man why it was time to go. He banked a tee shot off a tree — was that tree always there? — and since nobody was keeping score, anyway, then pulled another ball out of the bag and tried it ...
Woods says he’s confident but is he ready for Masters?
Woods hits his sand shot to the second green during his practice round Tuesday at the Masters. (Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com)

5:23 p.m. Tuesday, April 7, 2015

He smiled and laughed and even traded jokes with the vultures holding notepads. He slipped comfortably into the role of the nice old man telling stories on the front porch (“I won the Masters when Jordan (Spieth) was still in diapers”) and openly shared his recent frustrations on tortured golf ...
Braves stop the noise with opening win
Jason Grilli reacts after closing out Braves’ 2-1 win over Miami Marlins on opening day. (Steve Mitchell, USA Today)

8:43 p.m. Monday, April 6, 2015

Well, of course, they won. What did you expect?“It’s the greatest thing I’ve seen since David Justice hit the home run in 1995 — I feel like we just won the World Series,” Braves chairman emeritus Bill Bartholomay said.First game. A 2-1 lead. Save situation. No Craig Kimbrel. What did ...
Braves must go backward before they go forward
Fredi Gonzalez may be managing a team similar to the early ones that Bobby Cox put together as a general manager. (Curtis Compton, AJC)

7:30 p.m. Sunday, April 5, 2015

This is the language they spoke 30 years ago. These are the things they said when Bobby Cox returned to Atlanta as a general manager in 1985, introducing foreign concepts called “scouting” and “player development,” nurturing draft picks like Tom Glavine, David Justice, Steve Avery, Mark Wohlers, Ryan Klesko, Chipper ...
 Hawks’ turnaround started with Joe Johnson’s exit
The Hawks traded Joe Johnson shortly after Danny Ferry became general manager in 2012. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

8:39 p.m. Saturday, April 4, 2015

In July 2012, just 17 days after Danny Ferry was handed control of the Hawks’ front office, Joe Johnson was traded to Brooklyn for five players, a first-round pick that may morph into a lottery selection this summer, a second-round pick in 2016 and a trade exemption that would allow ...
Good news: With bar low, at least Braves won’t underachieve
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez is expected to experiment with several different lineups this season.

12:00 a.m. Saturday, April 4, 2015

There are 29 other teams in the major leagues and according to those who drive revenues in Las Vegas sportsbooks, 25 of them have a better chance to win the World Series than the Braves. So adjust your expectations. The bar hasn’t been this low since Jeff Francoeur descended from ...
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