Hawks’ 3-point defense continues to be a major issue


The Hawks’ 3-point defense continues to be a question.

Who has the answer?

The Hawks allowed 11 3-pointers to the Nets but still recorded a 110-105 victory Wednesday night. The Nets became the sixth straight team and 16th of the past 18 opponents to have double-digit 3-pointers in a game against the Hawks.

Most glaring, the Cavalier set an NBA regular-season single-game record with 25 3-pointers in a win last week. It was the same Cavaliers who set the overall record for made 3-pointers with 25 in a playoff victory over the Hawks last season.

“A lot of times, teams makes shots on us but as players we can do a better job of controlling the 3-point line,” Paul Millsap said.

Over the past six games, the Hawks have allowed a total of 95 3-pointers on a .424 percentage. The Warriors hit for 20 this week.

“One of the things we’ve said is keeping the ball in front of us a little better,” coach Mike Budenholzer said when asked about the poor 3-point defense. “The other night (against the Warriors), to some degree, we put a lot of attention on a couple guys and some of the players around them stepped up and made shots. If you were going on percentages for the rest of the year it might have been to our advantage if they just shot like the other parts of the season. It’s happened too many nights.”

Against the Warriors, 3-point specialists Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were a combined 8 of 23 from long range. Yet, Andre Iguodala (4 of 6) and Patrick McCaw (3 of 4) did significant damage.

The Hawks (35-29) woes have not come just of late. They have allowed opponents double-digit 3-pointers in 42 of the 64 games this season. That’s 66 percent of their games. The NBA has become a 3-point shooting league, but that’s significant. The Hawks are 21-21 in those 42 games.

The Hawks are the second-worst team in the NBA in opponent 3-pointers made (11.1) and attempted (30.1) per game. Only the Hornets are worse in each category. Their 36.8 percent success rate by opponents is tied for eighth-worst in the league. Last season, the Hawks were tied for 13th in the league with opponents averaging 8.1 3-pointers made per game.

“Can we keep the ball in front of us better?” Budenholzer said when asked for solutions. “Can we scramble better? Multiple efforts more often? Those types of things.”

Budenholzer offered the tenets of improving the 3-point defense. Millsap said the players are responsible for the issue.

“It’s something we have to dig a little deeper into,” Millsap said. “There are things the players can do better, getting guys off the line.”



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