The Hawks had their best game in a win over the Heat on Friday.
They unquestionably had their worst game in a loss to the Cavaliers on Saturday.
What happened in 24 hours?
Sure, the Cavaliers shot 77.8 percent in the first quarter en route to a 127-94 win. They made on all nine 3-point attempts in the period, 11 in a row overall and a franchise-record 19 for the game.
“They played great and we played poorly, all up and down,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “They shot extremely well. I don’t think our defense is where it needs to be but I think they deserve a ton of credit for how they played. Some nights like that happen in the NBA.”
Budenholzer sees two areas where the Hawks need improvement and not just from the Cavaliers game. Following a film session and practice Monday, Budenholzer said the Hawks’ lack of defensive rebounding and offensive pace have been issues early this season.
“You play the best you have all year and then you play the worst you’ve played all year,” Al Horford said. “It’s hard to explain. I think it goes back to you have to give them credit defensively. They got after us pretty good and we were just average. We watched the film. We learned from it. We had a good practice today. I think we are moving ahead from that.”
The Hawks are 20th in the NBA in defensive rebounding at 30.4 per game. The opposition is getting defensive rebounds at a pace of 32 per game. The Hawks have been outrebounded in all but two of their nine games.
The Hawks are tied for 17th in the league in opposition offensive rebounds at 10.9 per game.
“We have to finish our defense,” Paul Millsap said. “It doesn’t make any sense to play good defense for 24 seconds and you can’t get the rebound.”
Budenholzer said he wants to Hawks to play with greater tempo and pace on offense. Yet, they must take care of the basketball, something they did not do against the Cavaliers. The Hawks had 19 turnovers that led to 33 points. The Hawks are 21st in the NBA with 14.8 turnovers per game.
The Hawks (5-4) have a favorable opportunity to correct their deficiencies in the next two weeks. They play six of the next seven games at home, beginning with Tuesday’s game against the Lakers. They will also host the Pistons, Raptors, Pelicans, Hornets and Celtics.
Only a road game against the Wizards next Tuesday will take the Hawks away from Philips Arena, where the Hawks are 4-0. Only the Raptors and Pelicans currently have winning records. The Hawks will have a chance to avenge road losses to the Raptors and Hornets.
The Lakers come to town with a 1-9 record, including four straight losses.
“That’s nice to get all those games at home,” Horford said. “We have to take them a game at a time. Right now, we are only focusing on the Lakers. This is a good time for us to work on our team and get better in how we are trying to play.”
Carroll update: DeMarre Carroll is doubtful against the Lakers. The Hawks starting small forward has missed the past three games with a groin strain.
“I wouldn’t say there is any significant update,” Budenholzer said after Monday’s practice.
The Hawks officially listed Carroll as questionable on their injury report. According to Budenholzer, Carroll was able to participate in parts of Monday’s practice but not the entire workout.
“We’ll see how he is in another 24 hours,” Budenholzer said.
In six games, Carroll is averaging 12 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.2 steals in 33.8 minutes. Thabo Sefolosha has started the two games that Carroll has missed.
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