The Atlanta Hawks played the Portland Trailblazers on Thursday night in the Highlight Factory. If you were watching this game, you are probably familiar with the two month long Hawks collapse. Frankly, the Hawks didn’t even bother showing up offensively for the entire first half. By the time the teams headed to the locker room, the Hawks had only scored 37 points, and they found themselves in a 16 point hole. Even at home, those kinds of deficits are nigh-impossible to climb out of for a full-strength NBA team.
The Hawks difficulties were compounded by the fact that Pero Antic sprained his ankle against the Timberwolves on Wednesday, and Kyle Korver was also unavailable for the game against the Trailblazers. That forced the Hawks to play Mike Muscala at center, a 22-year old they signed in February to deal with their depth problems due to injuries. The starting lineup was Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap, Elton Brand, DeMarre Carroll, and Shelvin Mack. For Hawks fans, that’s not exactly what they were hoping for in late March. The loss of Horford has really devestated this team’s chances to move up in the standings, and niggling injuries to several parts of the lineup have cost them games in the latter half of the season.
The Hawks lead briefly in the first quarter, and they never sniffed it again for the rest of the game. They got semi-close in the 4th quarter when Portland became really sloppy with the ball, but the Blazers put down the rally quickly with a series of points in the paint. If anything it was a long slog to the finish line as home fans were forced to watch the Trailblazers grind the Hawks down defensively, and witness the Hawks players shoot 4-22 from beyond the arc. The only solace for basketball fans is that the two NCAA games going on at the same time weren’t worth watching either.
Damien Lillard and LeMarcus Aldridge really bludgeoned the Hawks with a combined 46 points and 22 rebounds. The Hawks answered with Jeff Teague and Lou Williams off the bench going for 38 points, but the rest of the team just couldn’t carry the load. The Hawks got out-shot, out-rebounded, and out-assisted by Portland. When the dust cleared, the result was a predictable short-handed loss on a back-to-back night. That’s what happens when you have tired legs and missing players.
Unfortunately for the Hawks, they have only a day off Friday before they travel to play the Wizards on Saturday. Hopefully, they make that day of rest count.
Tags: Atlanta Hawks