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      Hawksquawk Premium Memberships & Donations   10/24/2015

      Want to help keep the lights on around here and the ads to a minimum?  Premium Memberships Become a Hawksquawk Premium Member (aka Hawksquawk Supporter) with packages starting as low as $5 per month. All donations go to maintain Hawksquawk in the present and help with upgrades for the future. Click here to access the store.  New Donations System Some of you have asked for this in the past and we now have a system in place to accept donations. These can be as small as .01 and as large as you want. For your convenience we have created a few standard donation amounts. You can be a big help by making a donation. All donations go to help supporting the site and adding new features plus supporting the existing ones. Click here to access the store A Hearty Thank You For those of you who have helped out Hawksquawk by making donations in the past we want to say thank you and of course very much appreciate any donations in the future as well but please do not feel obligated in any way. Please note that existing memberships will be converted over into the new system so please be patient as those have to be manually entered into the system. 

lethalweapon3

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lethalweapon3 last won the day on December 3 2016

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  1. "We Wuz Robbed!" I almost cost Boogie and the Kings a technical all the way from ATL. ~kangz
  2. Great night in the standings. C'mon Kangz, I want a cherry on this Saturday Night Sundae! ~lw3
  3. Not that I want this at all, aside from the awkward media reactions, but we're also 2.5 games away from sending Bud to New Orleans in February. ~lw3
  4. “I call this dance move the ‘Joel Embiid’!” Remember those times the Atlanta Hawks could just bring their B-game to the table, and still run said table on most nights against the Philadelphia 76ers? Well, hopefully, you enjoyed those games, because those days appear to be tabled for the foreseeable future. Nobody’s chanting “fo-fi-fo” up in the City of Brotherly Shove just yet, but the Sixers arrive in Atlanta for tonight’s game (7:00 PM Eastern, Fox Sports Southeast and 92.9 FM in ATL, CSN Philly) having won eight of their last ten, including last night’s thrilling 93-92 comeback win at home against Portland. That’s the best string of Sixer success since the outfit led by Jrue Holiday and Andre Iguodala broke into the 2011-12 season with an early 9-1 run. By comparison, they were 7-24 before this latest stretch, 10-72 all last season. It’s not just patsies, either, that Philadelphia (15-26) is pheasting on. This past week, the Sixers took out visiting Toronto and knocked off the Bucks in Milwaukee. Last week, they fumigated the Hornets at home, one week after putting a late scare into their old rival Celtics in Beantown. For long-middling franchises like the Hawks, winning ten out of 12 doesn’t cause anyone around town to start planning parade routes. But for a team as historically miserable as the latter-day 76ers, these days, it’s as if the Mummers never left South Broad. 2016 #1-overall pick and soon-to-be-rookie Ben Simmons placed an exotic pet cat atop his head for an Instagram earlier in the week, and just that simple act has spawned a flurry of #RaiseTheCat tweets among Philly’s Pheline Phaithphul. Need we mention that Simmons has yet to play a regular-season game? All that town needed to go paws-itively cat-crazy is the most magnetic personality since Allen Iverson to finally make an impact on the floor. Back in October, Joel Embiid was in just his second game as a pro, when the Hawks obligatorily pasted the Sixers, 104-72. Yet he was thrilled with what he perceived as a dominant performance (14 points, 2 blocks, 2 rebounds in 15 minutes) versus former All-Stars Dwight Howard (2 points, 3 blocks, 7 rebounds in 19 minutes) and Paul Millsap. “Everybody has flaws,” Joel not-so-humble-bragged to the Philadelphia Inquirer, “I thought I took advantage of that by attacking (the Hawks’ bigs) and creating fouls. I got the shots that I wanted.” Such paltry contributions don’t excite Embiid anymore. He’s become a per-minute-MVP candidate, for turning around Philly’s fortunes while remaining on a team-mandated 28-minute restriction. 22.9 PPG, 2.5 BPG, 8.5 RPG, 1.1 SPG, and nearly one made three-point shot per game would be a dream for most starting NBA bigs, to say nothing of these averages Embiid produced in his past 15 appearances (in just 26.8 minutes/game). There are also 3.8 turnovers per game in those abbreviated stints, but hey, this is Philly, and at least he’s trying. Beyond just the highlights and the numbers, Embiid has emerged as the NBA’s premier social media magnet, building legions of fans awaiting his next tweet or Instagram post. Whether it’s flowering praise upon longtime crush Rihanna, bottling Shirley Temple drinks for a city that needs, if nothing else, sugary beverages, or revealing he and Johnny Football were summertime pals, Joey Basketball is taking the NBA world by storm, off the court as much as on. Sixers coach Brett Brown is certainly happy to still be along for the ride. His former boss, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, rarely reveals many “joys in life,” but one of them apparently is “to watch (the 76ers) win basketball games, because if there’s any team that deserves it, it’s those guys,” he told ESPN.com. “They’ve had it really tough for all the obvious reasons,” Coach Pop explained, “and there’s nobody in this business that is more positive, and more day-to-day upbeat than Brett Brown.” The signs that Brown had something simmering even without Simmons has been evident for a couple months. When the Hawks raised their record to 9-2 on November 16, they were the Eastern Conference’s most defensively-efficient team (95.1 D-Rating, 2nd in NBA), and despite combusting every now and then, they remain so (102.5 D-Rating, 5th in NBA). But in the games since that November 16 date, it’s the Sixers – yes, the Sixers – who have boasted the most efficient defense in the East (103.4 D-Rating, 5th in NBA since 11/17). Coincidentally, Embiid began stringing consecutive games together, even more so by mid-December with just 2 DNPs in Philly’s last 17 games (4th in team D-Rating since 12/14). Sixer opponents have shot just 46.9 eFG% in January; only Atlanta’s next opponent, the L.A. Clippers (46.3 eFG%) has been better. It’s just been a matter of the 76ers’ offense finding a way to catch up, and T.J. McConnell has helped in that regard. He has averaged 7.1 APG (2.1 TOs per game) in his last 20 games (8.1 APG in January; 2nd in NBA for Assist Ratio this month), and Philadelphia is 8-2 with McConnell as a starter. Helping cut down on the mistakes keeps Philly (still NBA-worst 17.2 January TO%) in contention by eliminating the runouts at the other end of the floor. McConnell can dish out lobs to Embiid, but he is also feeding the Sixers’ second-leading scorer well. Ersan Ilyasova arrived along with another future protected first-round pick from OKC in exchange for Jerami Grant back in November, and Philly Phans will start calling him “E.I.” if he keeps sinking jumpers. The ninth-year forward is averaging a career-best 15.3 PPG as a Sixer, including 2.2 threes per game. He has ebbed this month (35.3 January 3FG%), but he has been balancing that offense by crashing the glass and scoring more efficiently around the rim (career-high 65.7 FG% within 3 feet). Compensating for Ilyasova, Robert Covington’s jumper is beginning to reappear (41.7 3FG% last six games; game-winning contested 3FG last night vs. POR), while rookie forward Dario Saric has been putting some big plays together. The Sixers built up their confidence by coming back to win last night while Embiid was on-and-off and finally off the floor after hyperextending his knee. He was left behind in Philly for scheduled rest, but the spirited 76ers should still be a tough out in tonight’s contest without their current franchise rookie star. Right before finding their defensive groove, the Sixers visited Philips Arena on November 12, Embiid again a scheduled DNP. Even without him, Philadelphia sprinted to a 27-23 first-quarter lead, led by Saric’s seven points. Then Atlanta turned on the jets along the way to a 117-96 win. The trio of Tim Hardaway, Jr., Kyle Korver, and Dennis Schröder sank half of their 20 three-point shots, while Dwight Howard and Kris Humphries (combined 23 points and 20 boards) pummeled Jahlil Okafor and the Sixers’ frontline around the glass. A ton of Philly’s turnovers involve either Embiid (5th in NBA for TOs per game; 3rd in TOs per 36 minutes) experimenting, or teammates desperately trying to feed him the ball. They’ll miss his impact on the floor, but his absence should help them keep Atlanta from piling up easy buckets in transition. The Hawks’ 17.4 points per-48 off turnovers ranks second in the East, while the 17.6 points the 76ers allow ranks as the second-worst in the conference. This will be a chance for Nerlens Noel, who contended Mason Plumlee’s would-be-game-winner at the rim to seal the victory last night, and perhaps Okafor to shine, or at least to showcase their skills for other teams. Inactive until mid-December, Noel enjoyed 20+ minutes of playing time in consecutive games for just the second time this season. Those minutes came courtesy of the sudden mid-game absence of Embiid, along with continued ankle soreness for Okafor (season-high 26 points last Saturday @ WAS). Noel’s opponents have shot just 40.8 FG% (2nd-best in NBA, min. 4.5 opponent FGAs) on shot attempts he has defended, a value that compares favorably with the favored Embiid (39.6 defended FG%, 1st in NBA). Similarly marginalized after a rocky rookie season, Jahlil was DNP’d in seven of the last ten games, including the last two Sixer games. If he doesn’t play, Brown will likely turn to Richaun Holmes. Despite limited minutes, the second-year big has more points and rebounds versus Atlanta than against any other team. All of these frontcourt players know their playing status is in jeopardy with the pending arrival of a healthy Simmons. The long-tanking Sixers actually have an incentive to keep winning. Besides Embiid’s insistence on carrying this team into the postseason, Philadelphia also has a pick-swap option with the Kings, thanks to the summer 2015 deal that relieved Sacramento of Nik Stauskas. The Kings just lost Rudy Gay for the season, have lost four straight and seven of eight, and now sit perilously (0.5 games) in front of Philadelphia in the NBA standings. Atlanta will need much more out of their bench players than they presented in last night’s 102-93 roller-coaster ride versus Chicago. Hardaway’s near-halfcourt buzzer-beater to close Atlanta’s 35-13 first quarter mattered much more than it should have. The reserves allowed the Bulls to stampede back from 30 points down, at the start of the fourth quarter, to within 5 in the closing minutes, forcing coach Mike Budenholzer’s hand in making Millsap and Dennis Schröder 25 points on 11-for-14 FGs vs. CHI) re-lace their shoes. If the Hawks’ starters, led by Schröder (70.7 FG% last 3 games), Howard and Millsap, take care of the ball and defend well enough through three quarters to build a sizable lead, coach Bud will turn to once again to the other Mikes (Scott and Dunleavy, with Muscala still out), plus 10-day pickup Gary Neal and rookies DeAndre’ Bembry and Taurean Prince, and expect they won’t again turn a laugher into a thriller. Scott (4 assists in 21 minutes vs. CHI), particularly, must provide a stronger defensive presence around the paint and take some pressure off Humphries, while Prince must make better decisions with the ball in their hands. Philly doesn’t really need Embiid to compete for 48 minutes tonight, but they’d much rather save up their budding big men to face Dwight and the Hawks in the playoffs. Wait, did I actually type that? Rise Up! And Let’s Go Hawks! ~lw3 View full record
  5. ~lw3
  6. Yachty's twin, Lil Dinghy, struggles with performance issues. Or, so I'm told... ~lw3
  7. "No Justice..." "I know, right? I mean, Phil seriously expects ME to waive my clause just so they could swap me back to Denver? La La was like, 'What is Phil smoking?'..." ~lw3
  8. Six straight wins versus Chicago (let's do this again in about 5 days! Well, at least the first three quarters.) No Embiid tomorrow, so you know what that means. Please don't go off on us, Nerlens! ~lw3
  9. any "more" friction, that is... ~lw3
  10. “Hey, coach, I left you a gift over there. It’s a necktie!” All of our Atlanta Hawks have passed the final stage of the Bad Loss Protocol, and are cleared to participate in this evening’s matchup with the Chicago Bulls (8:00 PM Eastern, Fox Sports Southeast and 92.9 FM in ATL; WGN in CHI) at Philips Arena. To be declared free from the acute effects of CTH (Chronic Traumatic Hawkaflopathy), each Hawk must achieve acceptable marks during the following diagnostic tests: No signs of derisiveness (like bellies sore from laughter) directed toward the teams ranked above them in the standings. Yes, the Cavaliers got their doors blown off at Golden State, the Raptors suffered The Wrath of Embiid, and the Celtics were knocked off by the same Knicks team that Atlanta edged in New York just days before. But that’s no reason to get smug, especially when there are desperate rivals, like the Pistons and Bulls, expecting to come out and play like their hair is on fire. No indications (like scraped palms and knees) that they’re fine with playing at, or below, the level of lesser-achieving competition. Squeaking past a New York team without Kristaps Porzingis, the Hawks waltzed into Detroit’s palace self-satisfied with their 9-1 run, especially with the knowledge that the opponent’s top perimeter scorer and wing defender, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, would be sitting out. Whether the Bulls’ leading rebounder, Taj Gibson (sore ankle, but probable), enters the proceedings today should be of no consequence whatsoever to Atlanta (24-18). No strained necks from constantly looking over their shoulders at what the Thursday Night punditry has to say, or neglects to say, about the team and its key contributors. As the Falcons can attest, if they’re waiting for the Heath Evanses of the world to come around, they have the wrong goals in mind. 42-18 is only a favorable score when the Falcons are winning at the Georgia Dome, not when the Hawks are helping the Pistons drub them in the first quarter. No sour dispositions from fretting over who got voted, or eventually makes it, into the All-Star Game. All the good people of Stankonia were insufficient to get Dwight Howard more fan votes than Turkey’s Ersan Ilyasova (thanks to fans a bit too sugar-high from Shirley Temple drinks). Meanwhile, human lunchpail Paul Millsap has lived a charmed All-Star existence for the past several seasons, and Kyle Korver received a mysterious late bump from Ohio (blame the voting machines, or the Russians) to pull ahead of Dennis Schröder. But dwelling on such petty affairs sets up the Hawks to get steamrolled by a highly worthy All-Star starter in Jimmy Butler (career-highs of 24.8 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 4.8 APG). This Butler is truly doing it, putting together a campaign that rivals, if not exceeds, the cherished MVP season of Derrick Rose from 2010-11. Jimmy Buckets is, at once, Chicago’s best hope as a clutch shooter and a defensive wing stopper. And Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg is, slowly, figuring out how best to utilize him. Everyone outside of West Madison Street could have anticipated that the Bulls, with free agents Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo sharing the starting backcourt, would struggle as a team shooting the ball accurately and getting stops. Indeed, the starters, inclusive of Butler, Gibson, and Robin Lopez, rank last in the league with a 47.4 eFG%. Even with backups included, the Bulls take the fewest threes (20.3 3FGAs per game, two fewer than 29th-ranked San Antonio), and make the fewest (31.7 3FG%, last in NBA). Chicago is saved from being dead-last in true-shooting (52.5 starter TS%, 29th in NBA) only due to the starters’ propensity for drawing shooting fouls (18.7 starter FTAs per game, 4th in NBA) and hitting them (80.6 starter FT%, 7th in NBA even with Rondo, who now sulks from the bench). Aside from Butler’s routine heroics of late, Chicago has been able to rely on second-chances (NBA-highs of 29.5 O-Reb%, 16.2 second-chance PPG, +4.8 net second-chance PPG) when opponents fail to box them out. Opposing guards, meanwhile, have had field days against the Bulls, averaging 40.7 field goals per 100 possessions (3rd-most in NBA). Similar to the Hawks, Chicago’s saving grace is that their opposing guards rarely earn trips to the free throw line (19.4 opponent FTAs per game, 2nd-fewest in NBA; Atlanta’s 19.7 ranks 3rd). The 99-98 loss to Dallas at the United Center on Tuesday was made possible by the Bulls’ inability to contain Deron Williams and J.J. Barea on drives, or to account for three-point shooters, like Seth Curry, or Wesley Matthews in the closing seconds. Replacing the erratic Rondo in the standard lineup (+1.9 net points per 100 possessions) with momentary Hawk Jerian Grant (+27.5 net points per-100), or the ball-dominant Wade and Gibson with Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic (+22.1 net points per-100), have been a boon for the Bulls’ offense. However, Hoiberg has turned lately to Michael Carter-Williams, who struggles like Rondo offensively but at least puts in some effort on defense, and German rookie Paul Zipser, who must be living off his preseason exploits, in place of Gibson. Atlanta can immunize themselves from Butler’s recent late-game dominance (10.0 4th-quarter PPG in January, 2nd in NBA) if they neutralize the things the Bulls do well, from the opening tip. That includes rebuffing Lopez on the offensive glass; denying Butler, Wade and MCW space to roam inside while depriving them of trips to the charity stripe, deflecting bailout passes and getting out to properly contest the few pseudo-reliable shooters Hoiberg trots out (Mirotic, McDermott, Denzel Valentine, Bobby Portis, and Isaiah Canaan). All of that requires overcoming the final symptom of onset "CTH": players with sore hands from sitting on them, waiting on their teammates to get on the floor and provide the necessary spark. As an example, the Hawks offset the brilliance of Butler (39 points, 4-for-9 3FGs, 7 assists, 6 steals) and Wade (25 points, 10-for-17 FGs, 5 steals) back on November 9 with a highly-balanced effort at Philips Arena. In that game, eight Atlanta players scored in double figures, including former Bull Thabo Sefolosha with a stunning 8-for-9 FGs off the bench. The team shot a collective 50.6% from the floor, including 45.0% on threes, while sinking 22 of their 27 free throws. Howard (18 points, 10 rebounds, incl. 6 O-Rebs) rendered Lopez’s board-crashing (one O-Reb) ineffective. Solid offensive starts, like the 35-27 opening quarter exhibited against Chicago in November, obviates the indignity of Millsap lobbing threes (1-for-5 3FGs @ DET) in futile efforts to diminish unnecessary blowout margins. Inspiring the Hawks to play their A-game from the tip shouldn’t be as hard as it seemed on Wednesday night in Auburn Hills. All it takes to avoid yet another unsettling bout of "CTH" is to find somebody on the coaching staff willing to “tell the truth”, before it's too late. Let’s Go Hawks! ~lw3 View full record
  11. Just a hunch, without doing any "research", but I suspect this is the first time Berman At The Post voted for "Big Al" for anything. ~lw3
  12. Hack-a-Dwight weighs into it, despite his vastly improved shooting. He gets free throw attempts on 26.4% of those post-up plays (3rd most in NBA, when using K-Will's criteria). Anything other than 2-for-2 from the line (0 points, 1 point) diminishes the PPP stat. Among D8's peers in this regard is Andre Drummond (0.73 PPP, to D8's 0.72; 28.5% of possessions are post-ups compared to Howard's 25.8%). Yet despite Drummond's notoriously poor FT%, few play Bang the Drummond Slowly with Andre, who draws free throw attempts on those plays just 9.9% of the time (again, compared to Dwight's 26.4%). Might it be a matter of Dwight holding the ball too long on those post-ups? That ranking isn't so bad when one whittles it down to the 24 bigs w/ 100 or more post-up plays. Dwight still ranks 23rd out of those 24 on PPP, but his 26.4% FT frequency really stands out among that cluster more than the 0.72 does. Also above-average is his 17.0 TO% on post-ups (5th out of 24), again a hint that Dwight may be playing less instinctively than the team needs on those plays. Last-place in PPP among that subset is Hassan Whiteside (0.68 PPP) who, as timing would have it, Alex Kennedy just tweet-praised as having "lived up to that big contract." Despite the lower scoring efficiency, Hassan posts-up with greater frequency (29.9%) than Dwight but, heck, what else is Miami gonna do... Also notable: among those 24 bigs, Paul Millsap ranks 2nd with a 1.02 PPP (behind Enes Kanter's 1.03). Sap is right behind Dwight in free throws earned when posting up (25.0% FT frequency, 2nd out of 24), but his TO% is about half Dwight's. http://stats.nba.com/players/post-up/#!?sort=PPP&dir=1&CF=Poss*GE*100&Season=2016-17&SeasonType=Regular Season&PerMode=Totals ~lw3
  13. Just noting that Day #10 on the first 10-day contract (assuming he's active today) will come on January 27, when the Hawks host his most recent team, the Wizards. ~lw3
  14. B-More Careful! ~lw3