You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myAJC.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myAJC.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myAJC.com.

Tough times behind, ahead for reeling Hawks


It was not a good two days for the Hawks.

They dropped games to the Heat and Magic on Friday and Saturday – teams that were a combined 46-70 and 24 games under .500.

“All of us collectively need to find a way to be better,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said after a 105-86 loss to the Magic. “It’s important that it starts quickly.”

The recent trouble has not just been over the weekend. The Hawks (32-26) have lost three straight games by a total 53 points. They are 10-10 over the past 20 games and 23-24 since a 9-2 start to the season.

“We don’t want to be a .500 team,” Budenholzer said. “You have to go out on the court and execute on both ends of the court. At the end of the day if it’s 20 games and we are .500 we have to be honest with ourselves and find ways to improve whether it be small things or big things.”

Discipline involving Dennis Schroder has been central to the two most recent losses. The starting point guard was suspended for the game against the Heat. In the first game back from the All-Star break, he failed to return to the team on time due to a visa issue after spending the league hiatus in Germany. Schroder was a late scratch from the starting lineup against the Magic after it was reveal postgame that he was late for the team bus to the arena.

Schroder started the second half after the benching. He finished with 11 points, eight assists and five rebounds in 31 minutes. He refused comment on the incident following the game. His coach and teammates addressed the issue.

“We continue to hold our entire roster, all of our players, accountable,” Budenholzer said. “Our culture is important to us. Respect for your teammates is important to us. That’s our job and that’s our organization’s job is to continue to build on our culture.”

“It hurt us last night not to have him,” Paul Millsap said. “It hurt us tonight not to start with him. Those decisions are left up to the organization. We have to accept what it is. Dennis is sorry. I think he wants to be on the court. It’s something we have to get over. These two games we have to put behind us.”

The Hawks are still fifth in the Eastern Conference but are 2-1/2 games behind the fourth-place Raptors and 2-1/2 games ahead of the sixth-place Bulls and Pacers. The prospect of hosting a first-round playoff series is rapidly slipping away. The Hawks won 60 games and made it to the conference finals two seasons ago. They were eliminated in the second round last season. They are in jeopardy of a first-round exit this season.

The Hawks want to be playing well down the stretch and into the playoffs. It’s not happening.

“We have to get it together,” Dwight Howard said. “It ain’t on the coaches. It’s on us. The coaches are not out there playing. There not making decisions for us. So, it’s on us.”

The Hawks have added several new pieces and Millsap cautioned it will take time to come together.

Millsap was asked for the reason for his optimism.

“It’s not going to happen overnight,” he said. “We are trying to do the right things. We just have to be patient with it. We have to build up to it. I think we can turn it around.

“I trust the system that we have. I know if we do it right, and I’m a witness to it, if we do it right we’ll have success. It’s just about trusting the system.”

The Hawks play at the Celtics, second in the conference, on Monday. They return to Atlanta for a season-long six-game homestand. Those game are crammed into 10 days and include the Cavaliers, Warriors and Raptors. A two-game road trip to the Grizzlies and Spurs follows.

Tough times behind. Tough times ahead.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Atlanta Hawks

Down a third starter, Hawks fall to Nets
Down a third starter, Hawks fall to Nets

The Hawks are losing starters almost as fast as they are losing games. Missing three starters – Paul Millsap, Kent Bazemore and Thabo Sefolosha – the Hawks trailed by as many as 22 points before dropping a 107-92 decision to the Nets Sunday afternoon at Philips Arena. Sefolosha was a late scratch with a right groin injury after the Hawks...
How the Hawks’ bad luck led to another of rapidly mounting losses
How the Hawks’ bad luck led to another of rapidly mounting losses

Five observations from the Hawks’ 107-92 loss to the Nets Sunday. It was the Hawks’ seventh straight loss. 1. There is an old saying: If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all. That’s the Hawks these days. Already mired in a losing streak and without two starters, the Hawks lost a third starter when Thabo Sefolosha...
Inside the box score: Nets 107, Hawks 92
Inside the box score: Nets 107, Hawks 92

Inside the box score and more of the Hawks’ 107-92 loss to the Nets: Key players * Brook Lopez led a balanced scoring attack for the Nets with 23 points. He became the franchise’s all-time leader in field goals made. * Dennis Schroder led the Hawks with a game-high 24 points. He is averaging 22.5 points in the past four games with three...
Hawks now without three starters with Sefolosha a late scratch
Hawks now without three starters with Sefolosha a late scratch

The Hawks will be without three starters against the Nets on Sunday as Thabo Sefolosha was a late scratch due to a right groin strain. Rookie Taurean Prince will get his first NBA start in place of Sefolosha. The Hawks are already without starters Paul Millsap (left knee tightness) and Kent Bazemore (right knee bone bruise.) Sefolosha played 30:49...
Millsap had MRI on ailing left knee
Millsap had MRI on ailing left knee

Paul Millsap recently had an MRI on his left knee and the results of the exam showed no damage, Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said Sunday. However, Millsap missed his fifth straight game due to left knee tightness. The Hawks, in the midst of a six-game losing streak, have lost every game in the absence of the starting power forward. The Hawks are 0-7...
More Stories