Official Game Thread: Rockets at Hawks -- The (Regular) Season Finale!

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3 minutes ago, NBASupes said:

I don't want to see one key player in this game playing. 

Starting lineup






So if the Knicks lose vs Boston we shouldn't try to win?

And is the intention to play these guys the full 48 minutes.

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11 minutes ago, JayBirdHawk said:

So if the Knicks lose vs Boston we shouldn't try to win?

And is the intention to play these guys the full 48 minutes.

Did you see who's out for Boston today. Everyone 

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If they do still start/play I'd only have guys like Young/Bogdanovic/Huerter/Collins/Capela/Gallo/Lou play some to tune up.

Hunter needs to play for as long as he can though since he's been out of commission for so long.

Really hope he can get to where he can play a decent amount of minutes next week.

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Last night's 8:30 PM injury report had Gwu Tang questionable (sore shoulder), with Snellvet (sore Achilles) and Velvet (sore ankle) both probable. Today's 5:30 boo-boo report has a good chance of looking very different.

Scrubbed like the Black Brant XII from the final Rockets' launch... Avery Bradley, Sterling Brown, Dante Exum, Eric Gordon, Danuel House, David Nwaba, Kevin Porter, Khyri Thomas, and of course John Wall and Christian Wood.



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Awesome thread to end our regular season. Thanks for slaying us for 72 games this season @lethalweapon3

Go Hawks! 

1 hour ago, JayBirdHawk said:

So if the Knicks lose vs Boston we shouldn't try to win?

And is the intention to play these guys the full 48 minutes.

You wanna nail that prediction award 🥇 huh? :biggrin:

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49 minutes ago, Spud2nique said:

Awesome thread to end our regular season. Thanks for slaying us for 72 games this season @lethalweapon3

Go Hawks! 

You wanna nail that prediction award 🥇 huh? :biggrin:


Yes Dammit - I want my participation trophy! I already have the perfect spot picked out for it, Lol!


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Sarah K. Spencer on Twitter: "Trae Young (right big toe soreness) will be a game-time decision, Nate McMillan says. Bogdan Bogdanovic (left hamstring soreness), Clint Capela (left Achilles soreness), Danilo Gallinari (low back soreness) and Kevin Huerter (left ankle soreness) are out." / Twitter

Hey! Does anything ache for you Trae? We need to know just in case the Knicks win and we decide to pull the plug on the game...

Right big toe soreness?


Maybe let him get a few minutes if he wants, but he shouldn't play a lot (and that seems to be the plan).

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The guys that will play tonight should treat this game like its an audition to earn/earn more rotation minutes in the playoffs. More specifically looking at Gwu, Kris Dunn, Knight, and maybe Mays and Bruno. We need to know who's gonna be useful and who isn't, win or lose.

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3 minutes ago, ATLHawks3 said:

The guys that will play tonight should treat this game like its an audition to earn/earn more rotation minutes in the playoffs. More specifically looking at Gwu, Kris Dunn, Knight, and maybe Mays and Bruno. We need to know who's gonna be useful and who isn't, win or lose.

Dunn is OUT - left ankle impingement.

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      As the Western Conference looks more and more like the NFL’s AFC, the Thunder currently sit one full game behind Minnesota for the final prospective Play-In spot. As for the teams below them, the Kings are a royal pain, the Spurs are simply going through the motions, the Pels are up a crick without a chicken drumstick, and the Rockets, bless their hearts, have no idea what’s going on.
      One more team out West gets caught slipping – looking at you, Minnesota – and Atlanta fans could be throwing back popcorn at Play-In time. The T’Wolves remember moonwalking into a rare playoff spot, in 2018, thereby gifting Atlanta with the chance to draft Kevin Huerter in the small-p process. The dealing away of Dennis and Mike just days after that draft may reward the Hawks as Adreian Payne had done once before. Only this time around, Mike may have a personal say in that transaction transpiring.
      Now I’m not suggesting actually keeping the theoretical pick. I don’t know Duke University’s Paolo Banchero from Buford Highway’s Pollo Campero, and I’m not trying to start bathing in the waters of Lake Tankathon anytime soon. But there is a “lock” next to Oklahoma City’s line on that site, one that looks like it could be “picked” with just a little more work on their end.
      What I do find tantalizing is the maximization of near-term draft capital for the Hawks’ front office, ahead of 2022’s Trade Deadline. Atlanta could package one of both of its picks with a veteran to upgrade its roster in preparation for the, well, let me not jinx our own chances at the P-word by saying it aloud, not with our streaky Hawks (8-9) a full game behind momentary 8-seed contenders Cleveland, New York and Boston. The less the conveyance from OKC looks like a mirage, the better Travis Schlenk and company’s pre-Deadline negotiating positions to upgrade the roster for a certain kind of run.
      Jalen, Onyeka, Sharife and Skylar continue to toil in hopes of future rotational minutes. And as De’Andre works to get back up to speed, the last thing the Hawks need, going forward, is a future mid-to-high-level draft-pick for some long-range prospect, least of all their own selection.
      Continuing to avert the risk of that future tonight, Atlanta needs to be superior in execution in all avenues, from guarding OKC’s perimeter shooters and closing out without committing bailout fouls, to winning the turnover battles, avoiding the roving Dort on inbound plays, moving the ball without overdribbling and making open shots, to most importantly keeping the Thunder hopelessly one-and-done on offensive sets. As long as Atlanta takes care of fundamental business, it won’t matter what OKC’s star ballhandler does.
      “He’s like Trae, only… taller! Bigger! More versatile! A better defender!” I, along with many others, fell for the “Like Trae, but better,” hype surrounding the pro-tential of Gilgeous-Alexander, who would be the Hornets’ main-stager right now, had the #11 pick not been swapped down for the Clippers’ next pick, Miles Bridges, on 2018’s Draft Day (not a lot of Who Won The Trade talk around that one, eh?). Both Trae and Shai earned their big-bag extensions this summer. Yet, as Trae displayed more recently, your ability to shine, as a young and playoff-inducing superstar, often comes down to the company you keep.
      Shai’s not, “like Trae,” and he’s not “better.” With his 6-foot-6 frame, SGA is naturally a better shooter than Trae from the field, and he ought to be better along the boards, as he is. But his shot-creation skills, from a team-leading guard standpoint, pale in comparison, even without veteran talents paired alongside him to siphon away the usage. With steelier defenders and a savant defense-oriented coach around him, a more dedicated and durable Young has been able to narrow the gap on that side of the floor.
      Reddish’s scoring binge in the past two games, and Capela’s 20-and-15 evening in the win over Charlotte, has them now comfortably joining three other active Hawks (discounting the injured De’Andre Hunter) in double-digit scoring this season. With a repeat of his 36 points over the past two games, Huerter could soon follow suit, granting Young and the Hawks the deep and balanced offense that had been touted, on paper, in the run up to this season.
      Stuck much like Luka in the West, Shai is largely left to chart his own path back into playoff-caliber territory. Very much unlike Luka, he's awaiting less experienced talents like Bazley, Poku, Tre Mann and Giddey to fill the gaps.
      Young spun straw from the outset with the Bazes and Bembries, but eventually benefitted from the healthy presences of Capela, ex-Clipper legend Lou Williams and ex-Thunder star Danilo Gallinari. SGA, who dipped his toe in playoff waters with Lou and Gallo’s Clips and Gallo’s Thunder during his first two trial-by-fire seasons, will need crafty vets around once more, in order to make his next scene-stealing postseason breakthrough.
      It was assumed in the short term that the essential veteran in tandem with Gilgeous-Alexander would be Favors, by default. But it is becoming more evident that Muscala, of all people, may be the keeper, perhaps even the player other GMs will pray Presti dangles for deals, once it’s time to talk turkey about picks and prospects as the Deadline approaches.
      It would be great, come March 30th with a handful of this season’s games remaining, for Atlanta to be in a position to “help” Moose and Shai with a playoff push in OKC. But that is far into the future, and the Hawks have more immediate concerns at hand as they look to sweep their homestand and sustain their newfound momentum. Having trae-ded places on their professional trajectories, Young and his aspiring Hawks have no time for regrets about stealing any of Shai’s Thunder.
      Let’s Go Hawks!
    • By lethalweapon3
      “The Hawkman has 24 hours to reveal himself.”
      Don’t let the smooth 10-7 record fool you. The Charlotte Hornets, like the Atlanta Hawks, are on the mend and on the rise!
      LaMelo Ball, Miles Bridges and the Hornets are in town (7:30 PM Eastern, Bally Sports Southeast in ATL and CLT; NBATV elsewhere; 92.9 FM in ATL) at State Farm Arena, and they are bugs on a mission.
      Similar to Atlanta (7-9), Charlotte had to withstand an early-season downturn as they took their lumps on the road and in back-to-backs. Having lost to Cleveland on the business end of a back-to-back at home, coach James Borrego’s club headed out west and watched their losing skid extend to five in a row. Then the trip turned back east, and his team has since ventured north in the standings.
      First, there was victory in a showdown with Ja Morant in Memphis. Then, a packed-house homestand kicked off with a win over future number-retiree Kemba Walker’s Knicks. Following that, the Hornets became the first NBA club, as per Elias Sports, since 2017-18’s Hornets to topple the NBA’s sitting conference leaders in consecutive games. They denied Charlotte native Steph Curry’s Dubs another dub, before outlasting Brad Beal’s Wizards.
      The Hornets, coming off the 121-118 home win versus Indiana last night, are 0-3 on the back ends of back-to-backs, and like the Hawks did earlier this week, they’re aiming to rise to 1-3 in this category tonight. They also embark on a three-game road swing through much of their division-rival’s towns, with the rematch in D.C. on Monday, and the Magic in O-Town on Wednesday. These games, in particular, are a huge deal for Charlotte.
      Even as Atlanta plans (soon?) to raise their rare Southeast Division flag from their most recent banner season, having gone worst to first in-division since 2019-20, the Hornets, around the Carolinas in some form of fauna since 1988, have never been able to hoist a division banner of any stripe.
      Kemba’s and Borrego’s mad dash in 2019 for the Southeast title (and, by extension, a playoff spot, since the entire division was awful) came up short by three games to 42-40 Orlando, and that’s as close to the mark as they’ve been in a long time. Steph’s father Dell’s 1994-95 edition of purple and teal finished two games behind the Pacers for what was the Central Division crown at the time.
      If you’re the Red Sox, AL East pennants don’t add up to a hill of beans in Beantown, in and of themselves. But each one does scream out, suggestively, that in one particular Anno Domini, Boston finished a season ahead of the hated Yanks.
      The Hawks and the Hornets, as Chris Paul might tell the tale, don’t really despise each other, nothing like those longtime, bitter baseball rivals up north. But one thing fans of Atlanta’s and Charlotte’s teams with hoop dreams have in common is, we’re sick and tired of Miami acting like they’re Nique’s manna from the heavens. Short of a Larry O’Brien, nothing says, “we outwitted the smarmy Pat Riley this year!”, quite like a Division Champs banner.
      The heat, now one half-game out of 1st in the East, already cruised past Charlotte once last month. Charlotte understands that the best way to at least keep chase with the current division leaders is to rattle off as many divisional wins as possible, and that opportunity, continuing tonight, avails itself.
      After a post-Thanksgiving back-to-back versus Minnesota and at Houston, the only to-date schedule that, by most measures, is stronger than Atlanta’s, ratchets up again before the Bugs and Birds collide here again on December 5. That game will be the first of a back-to-back for both them and the Hawks.
      Both Borrego and coach Nate McMillan’s crews are trying to spiffy up their once-sagging defenses. A couple of overtime games register into it, but the Hornets (25th in D-Rating) have allowed a league-high 113.6 PPG. Also factoring in is a departure, for Charlotte, from snail-paced tempos (102.16 possessions per-48, 3rd in NBA), as Borrego transitions fully from the Kemba years to hand the offense over to LaMelo (7.6 RPG, 7.5 APG; 38.5 3FG%, 92.7 FT%).
      Just about all of Ball’s season-high 32 points (plus 8 dimes and 11 boards) were needed to outpace Indiana last night. But despite allowing 118 points in regulation, his team held their prior four vanquished foes to 98.3 PPG on 40.0% shooting from the field (25.3 3FG%).
      He’s no De’Andre Hunter, yet the defensive activity from the star of Real Baby Mama Dramas of the Queen City has been sorely missed. P.J. Washington (1.7 blocks per-36) remains out indefinitely, after hyperextending his elbow seven games into the season. Charlotte has ramped up the playing time for Washington’s fellow UK Wildcat, Nick Richards (2.8 blocks per-36), in part to account for Washington’s absence and to keep from wearing down starting center and offseason addition Mason Plumlee.
      Like the Hornets, the Hawks are finding ways to adapt. Atlanta’s defensive efficiency improved to 110.9 (tied with Orlando for 27th in NBA) after throttling Boston by a 110-99 score on Wednesday evening, the first Hawks opponent to be held in double-digit scoring over Atlanta’s past 12 contests. A defensive gem from Cam Reddish (3 steals and a block) on Wednesday helped make Jayson Tatum’s 34-point night taste like empty calories for Boston, and teammates helped keep Tatum’s teammates (6-for-29 3FGs) tranquil from downtown.
      John Collins isn’t the only one in the Dirty South Division who has been rounding out his game beyond his aerial exploits. Keeping up with JC’s T-shirts, mask coverings of Miles Bridges, flinging the ball past Clint Capela, are selling like hoe cakes in the 704.
      But Bridges has crossed over from Just a Dunker into Most Improved Player territory as Charlotte’s leading scorer (20.8 PPG on 16.7 shots per game, up from 12.7 and 9.4 as a sixth-man last season). Miles’ full-floor presence (6.1 D-Rebs per game, behind only LaMelo’s 6.2) also alleviates pressure on Gordon Hayward (41.8 3FG%) to be a stout post presence at both ends.
      While he’s not shooting the rock with high efficiency in the paint (40.0 FG% from 3-to-10 feet, as per bball-ref) or on the perimeter (33.9 3FG%), the frequency of Bridges' high-efficiency targets (just 3 of 163 2FGAs beyond 10 feet) help maximize his on-court production. Ball and the Hornets could stand to initiate Miles' touches more often in the paint, where his 77.8 FG% (on just 2.3 shots per game, as per stats) ranks 5th in the league (min. 10 games & 2 paint FGAs).
      Plumlee, by comparison, gets almost double Bridges’ paint touches, although he has the sense to pass safely out of most of them (NBA-high 41.0 pass%). Despite the occasional brilliance of Ball, the Hornets (NBA-high 30.9 PPG on spot-up plays), even with gunners like Terry Rozier and Kelly Oubre, are committed to moving the pill effectively. While playing at a high pace, all five starters average at-or-above three assists per game, and their 1.90 assist/TO team ratio ranks third in The Association.
      Thanks to Bogdan Bogdanovic (season-high-tying 6 assists w/ no TOs vs. BOS; 2.6 APG, down from 3.3 last season), the Hawks are beginning to realize the importance of not simply letting the ball stick wherever Trae Young (last 7 games: 9.1 APG, 5.3 TOs/game) hurls it. After Bogi, only Collins and the thawing bench guard Delon Wright (each w/ 2.1 APG; Wright had 5 assists and no TOs vs. ORL) average over two assists per game for Atlanta.
      Not every pass delivered from Young is required to result in a shot attempt, although the Hawks seem to take this notion a tad too much to heart (NBA-low 22.1 catch-and-shoot FGAs/game; 55.4 C&S eFG%, 5th-highest in NBA). The more confident and creative the Hawks (2.13 assists/TO ratio this week, 5th in NBA) get with their ballhandling decisions, particularly off catches from Trae, the less opponents can predictably drill down on their brightest star.
      Charlotte’s daring and dazzling playmakers make them must-see TV in the Land O' League Pass. But for those attending games in their stadium, they’d love to see at least one flag, commemorating a division title or two, make its way up into the rafters soon. Certainly, before Walker’s number gets up there beside Bobby Phills’.
      A division banner would mean as much to the fans as the team quenching its five-year-long playoff drought, if not more. But getting there will require beating the other division darlings, past and present, that stand in their way.
      Tonight’s game is shaping up to be a veritable springboard. But while it may set up a vault for the victor, their opponents may find themselves trying to avert another dive. Today, and come April, whose wings will be flying the highest?
      Let’s Go Hawks!