In 2015, the Atlanta Hawks became just the eighth team in NBA history to place four players on the all-star team in the same season. Despite returning those same four starters– Al Horford, Paul Millsap, Jeff Teague, and Kyle Korver– in 2016, only one Hawk, Millsap, is an all-star this season, making Atlanta the first team in NBA history ever to follow up a four-all-star season with a season in which only one (or fewer) of its players made the all-star team. (For purposes of the 1998 Lakers, I looked to the 2000 ASG, the event having been cancelled in 1999 due to an owners’ lockout.)
Furthermore, due to an ankle sprain he suffered in last night’s loss to the Pacers, Millsap might not even make an appearance in next month’s All-Star Game.
The Hawks’ 27-21 record is good enough for first in their division and fourth in the Eastern Conference.
AD and Commodawg were at Phillips Arena– a/k/a The Highlight Factory a/k/a The Hawk’s Nest– last night with the hopes of seeing eight seed Atlanta clinch a first-round series over one seed Indiana. Instead, we saw a suddenly tentative Hawks team repeatedly surrender leads, including a four-point lead with about two minutes to go in the game, while the Pacers played as steady of a game as they have all series. I don’t know enough about the NBA to offer any real insight or analysis about what happened last night, but on the offensive side, it seemed to me that Atlanta kept finding the wrong shots for the wrong people. In particular, Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, and Paul Milsap seemed to fail to fully embrace their roles on the team last night. Korver is a starter who also is a three-point specialist. He needs to make more than three treys, and he probably needs to attempt more than eight for the Hawks to win. Atlanta was good from the free-throw line as a team (87.5%, Teague was 9-9), but it would have been great to see Teague take over in this game, which neither team really seemed to want to win. In general, the Hawks need to improve their shot selection in game seven: 35.8% from the field isn’t going to cut it.
The atmosphere at the arena last night was a fun one. All the seats were filled, and everyone was dressed in red and engaged in the game from start to finish. For one night anyway, the Hawks had captured their home town’s attention. Here’s hoping they close out the Pacers on Saturday evening in Indiana and give those fans another reason to come out and support them in the postseason.