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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. 

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Found 13 results

  1. http://www.thebirdwrites.com/2017/1/10/14232600/alexis-ajinca-seeks-nba-trade-new-orleans-pelicans-omer-asik-small-ball-improvement (BasketUSA article, Google translation of l'Equipe, via SB Nation's The Bird Writes) I always wonder why/how foreign players (Bogut in Australia being a recent example) get away with airing their frustrations with their teams via their home countries' media. ~lw3
  2. “If you call me Simon or Theodore ONE more time…” The Hottest Team in the East (double-checks standings… yup!) swoops into New Orleans today (8:00 PM Eastern, Fox Sports Southeast and 92.9 FM in ATL, Fox Sports NO). The Atlanta Hawks are hoping to extend their winning streak to five, one night after vanquishing Orlando. Beating the Magic 111-92 last night was a small measure of vengeance after Orlando tallied 131 points in Atlanta just weeks ago. Last week, the Hawks’ 105-98 win over the Pistons somewhat avenged a 121-85 home drubbing from a few weeks prior. Now, Atlanta hopes to make amends for the first bad home loss of the season, when a 4-10 Pelicans squad waltzed into Philips Arena just days before Thanksgiving and made the Hawks look like jive turkeys. The 112-94 pasting (34-14 in the opening quarter) occurred even while supernova Anthony Davis (career-highs of 28.9 PPG and 11.9 RPG, NBA-highs of 2.6 BPG and 10.4 FGMs/game) sat out much of the game due to a minor injury. The Golden State Invitational is in full swing. There is but one solitary playoff slot open for the Western Conference’s sub-mediocre contenders. The Pelicans are right in the mix, vying with the Kings, Blazers, and Nuggets for that 8-seed and the right to host Steph and KD for a pair of home games in April. New Orleans enjoyed this opportunity back in 2015, and they’d love another shot at postseason futility. Along with the Hawks’ next opponent (Dallas), the Pels (14-22) are mired amid a tough Southwest Division that includes the Spurs, Grizzlies, and red-hot Rockets. They’re just 1-6 against those foes, but one good thing they have in their pocket is their success against teams from the other conference. Monday’s 90-82 loss in Cleveland (after leading through three quarters) dropped N’Awlins to a still-spiffy 8-4 record against the East, including the resounding victory in Atlanta back in November. Sporting a .500 record since stumbling out of the season blocks at 0-8, Alvin Gentry’s club has won four of their past five, while getting reinforcements for the run toward the playoffs’ first round. Arriving to the season late while attending to family matters, Jrue Holiday’s jumper isn’t quite where he wants it (39.1 FG% since December 1). But lately, he has been dropping dimes (last ten games: 9.0 APG, 1.9 TOs/G) the way locals drop beads on Mardi Gras revelers. Down goes Tim Frazier to the second-string, but he won’t be any relief for the Hawks, not after he put up season-highs of 21 points and 14 assists (9 in the second half) in Atlanta, widening the rout to 35 points before the Hawks woke up in the third quarter. Tyreke Evans returned in mid-December and has been brought along slowly after recovering from knee surgery. Unfortunately, Quincy Pondexter will undergo another knee surgery that will cause him to miss the entire season. But the Pellies compensated by ending the long, international nightmare that was Donatas Motiejunas’ contract situation in Houston, signing the seven-foot forward to a prorated vet-min deal on Tuesday. The minute Donuts stepped off the plane at Louis Armstrong, he became a better prospect to relieve Davis than any of Gentry’s other options (Terrence Jones, Omer Asik, Alexis Ajinca, Cheick “Please” Diallo). But having not played on an NBA floor in 8 months, he’ll probably be too rusty to participate tonight. “Hopefully, it’s not going to take long to get back in game shape,” said Motiejunas during his presser. “I’m doing whatever I can to be ready as soon as possible.” The Pelicans’ recent surge coincided with coach Gentry’s decision (spurred on by a certain team consultant, perhaps?) to fully embrace small-ball, committing Davis and Jones (17 points off the bench @ ATL on Nov. 22) to the 5-spot while all but shelving Asik and Ajinca. They’ve been looking to off-again, on-again starter Dante Cunningham (41.7 3FG% in last 8 games, quickly returning from a fibula fracture) to be their stretch-4, although that may change once Motiejunas gets up to speed. It didn’t take until February, but rookie shooting guard Buddy Hield no longer seems afraid of his own shadow. Moved into the starting lineup in December, after a rough offensive start, Hield has shot a scintillating 53.3 3FG% over his past ten games. Yes, it’s kind of a default situation given the rookie crop these days, but Hield was named Rookie of the Month for December. Buddy’s budding and Davis’ dominance, unfortunately, have not put enough of a dent into New Orleans’ woeful offensive inefficiency this season. Ranking 29th in O-Rating (100.9 points per 100 possessions; NBA-low 100.6 since December 1), the Pels manage to score just 13.8 points per-48 off turnovers (28th in NBA). They shoot just 47.5% inside the 3-point arc, and don’t crash the offensive boards (17.9 O-Reb%, last in NBA), leading to very few second-chance scores (10.2 points per 48, 29th in NBA). The Hawks defensive challenge is to turn New Orleans’ offense inside-out. They want to entice leading scorers Davis (27.9 3FG%), Holiday (33.3 3FG%), and Jones (21.2 3FG%) to ply their wares from the perimeter, while keeping Frazier (38.2 3FG%), E’Twaun Moore (39.1 3FG%), Hield and Langston Galloway (36.4 3FG%) from getting open long-range looks. “K.Y.P.” is in full effect for the Hawks, who are moving back toward respectability in the perimeter defense department. Atlanta has kept seven of their last eight opponents from making a third (33.3%) or more of their three-point attempts (compared to just once in the 11 games before those). A healthier crew of Thabo Sefolosha, Paul Millsap, and Kent Bazemore has helped in this area. The Hawks benefitted once again from some favorable whistles, this time against the Magic (9-for-10 FTs) yesterday. But keeping foes off the free throw line, in and of itself, hasn’t translated into victories. Only one other time this season, out of six games, did Atlanta prevail while holding opponents to 13 or fewer FTAs. That was against Houston, who loves shooting threes but only made a third of them (12-for-36 3FGs). With Dwight Howard’s ability to keep opponents from making hay inside (22.6 opponent PPG-in-the-paint, 2nd-fewest among Centers with 25+ minutes/game), keeping New Orleans off the charity stripe while coaxing them to settle for well-contested mid-range two-pointers should be enough to stifle their offensive production over the course of 48 minutes. On offense, high ball screens directed by Dennis Schröder (last 4 games: 7.3 APG, 50.9 2FG%) should free him up for drives that force the Pelicans’ most active defender, Davis (team-high 1.5 SPG), to make plays on the ball. Unibrow is talented and flexible enough to divert Schröder’s drives, or to recover on the roll man, but he can’t cover the opponent’s entire halfcourt on his own, especially the opposite side. It’s up to Atlanta’s wings and forwards to stay in motion, freeing themselves up for passes from their lead guard and keeping the offense from stagnating. A headbanded Bazemore (17 points, 3-for-3 3FGs and 4 assists @ ORL) kept his head together and helped in this regard, as did Kyle Korver (4-for-5 3FGs vs. NOP on Nov. 22), who struggled with his shot last night but snuck in seven assists in under 17 minutes. New Orleans’ record is 3-11 when their opponents ring up 25 or more assists in a game, something Atlanta has done in their past three games. After piling up the points on the fastbreak (24-3) versus San Antonio on Sunday, the Hawks mustered just six fastbreak points in Orlando. Defensive rebounders sparking transition scores will be vital against the Pelicans, who are 2-13 this season when they’re outscored on fastbreak points. Even if individual Pelicans excel at times tonight, another balanced team effort spread out over four quarters should keep the Hawks’ good times rolling. A successful road trip may or may not be Big, but no one on this team should expect it to come Easy. Let’s Go Hawks! ~lw3 View full record
  3. “Just stop it, Omer! Stop it! You’re making me laugh!” It’s Gucci Time! Cut the lights on at the Highlight Factory. The 1st Year Out Da Feds is going swimmingly well for Gucci Mane, the East Atlanta rapper providing the musical interlude as the Atlanta Hawks host the New Orleans Pelicans. (7:30 PM Eastern, Fox Sports Southeast and 92.9 FM in ATL, Fox Sports NOLA). Tidbits follow. Get Ur Weight Off, Patna! -- Winners of two straight home games, the visiting Pelicans are struggling to shed perceptions that they’re overly dependent on one tremendously good player. Losers of two straight on the road, the Hawks (9-4) are trying to shed presumptions that they’ll fold like a cheap suit once a little adversity hits during a game. For some inspiration, both teams can look to The Artist Briefly Known as Guwop, who shed a metric ton of pounds while doing time for his crime! The East Atlanta Santa is shaped more like a candy cane now and is darn-near unrecognizable, the telltale ice cream cheek tattoo notwithstanding. The ex-con committed to dumping the Lemonade (more specifically, the stuff he used to mix in it, and I don’t mean sugar) from his post-penitentiary diet. The League vs. Anthony Davis -- Unibrow remains more than worthy of the Spotlight, even though his nightly production often winds up getting Wasted. The reigning Western Conference Player of the Week leads the NBA in scoring (31.7 PPG) and blocks, not just the Spider-Solitaire-at-work variety (3.0 BPG), while putting up career-best averages in rebounds (11.5 RPG, 6th in NBA) and steals (1.9 SPG, 7th in NBA). His improved maneuvering is earning him better looks in the paint (55.5 FG% betw. 3-16 feet; 40.7% last season) and drawing more trips to the line (career-high 11.1 FTAs per game, 81.3 FT%). His 38-and-16 helped New Orleans fumigate the Hornets in OT on Saturday, one night after Charlotte pulled a fast one on the Hawks. After “containing” Kristaps Porzingis to a single offensive rebound on Sunday, Atlanta will try to use boxscore-filling Paul Millsap to keep Davis out of the paint, and more reliant on his long-range jumper (32.6 FG% from 16 feet out). I Think I Love Her -- USWNT soccer star Lauren Holiday successfully delivered a baby boy, one month before successfully removing a brain tumor. As new mothers are apt to do eventually, Lauren ordered her caretaker husband to get the heck out the house, and that’s been of great benefit to the Pelicans. Jrue Holiday has wasted little time getting acclimated off the bench, averaging 21.5 PPG and 8.0 APG in two games. His return has helped the Pelicans (4-10) double their win total while alleviating the lightly-experienced but steady third-year player Tim Frazier (7.6 APG, 2.4 TOs/game). Holiday (44.4 3FG%) and Langston Galloway (season-high 23 points, 6-for-11 3FGs vs. CHA; “Jrue is a maestro out there. He’s finding everybody,” he told Pelicans.com) are shooting perimeter shots well, allowing coach Alvin Gentry to rely less on starter E’Twuan Moore (30.8 3FG%) and rookie Buddy Hield (24.6 FG%). The Appeal: Germany’s Most Wanted -- Goodbye, Manhattan! Dennis Schröder should be coming into today’s action with clearer eyes and a fuller heart, after putting up a clunker (0-for-8 FGs, 3 assists, 3 TOs in 21 minutes) against the Knicks during a Sunday matinee. Backup Malcolm Delaney wasn’t any better (1-for-4 FGs, 4 assists, 4 TOs in 21 minutes), and the point guard power outage (plus a bunch of flubbed shots around the rim) contributed mightily to Atlanta’s biggest deficit in a loss this season. The Hawks are 6-0 this season when Schröder’s plus/minus is zero or higher, and they’ll need Dennis and Delaney to get back on the positive side versus Holiday and Frazier. 6-for-17 Brick Squad -- Decent perimeter shooting helps the Hawks neatly mask their shortcomings. The team is 7-0 when shooting above 35 percent on threes, but the Views From Zone 3 are not as pretty (2-4) when Atlanta falls short of that mark. They’ve been especially “BURR!” of late, not coming close to 35 percent in their last three games (28.4 3FG%) and they barely cleared the 35% bar in Miami (35.3 3FG%) last Tuesday. To hear more “Bingo!” tonight, their teammates must get in better position for catch-and-shoot opportunities when the point guards are coming off screens and driving. Pelican opponents have hit 8.4 above-the-break 3FGAs per game, 3rd most in the league. Speed Bumps -- Dwight Howard will try to make amends from the jump, after granting Knicks backup center Kyle O’Quinn carte blanche (4 O-Rebs, 7 total, plus 6 points in 1st quarter) on Sunday. Howard (18-and-18 @ NYK) should have little trouble neutralizing Pelicans center Omer Asik, if he can make Asik pay for abandoning him to help Pelican defenders. Backup Alexis Ajinca is returning to action after missing the past two games with a shoulder injury, while Terrence Jones (illness) may sit this one out. The Return of Mr. Perfect -- Thabo Sefolosha (67.5 2FG%) is likely to return from his mild knee sprain, helping put various Pelican ballhandlers in the Trap House while replenishing the depth of what has been the league’s premier bench unit. He and Kent Bazemore should Go Head and exploit any advantages they can find against New Orleans, who have struggled mightily to find a steady contributor at small forward. Dante Cunningham supplanted free agent pickup Solomon Hill in the Pels’ starting lineup, but the Pelicans are eagerly anticipating a December return from Tyreke Evans (knee, blood clots) to fill the gap. Gone are inefficient ballers Lance Stephenson and Archie Goodwin, and incoming is swingman Anthony Brown, a former Laker rookie and the top overall pick of this year’s D-League Draft. Back on Road -- Gucci will be performing only at halftime, but Hawks players have no time to hang out for a postgame concert, anyway. After tonight’s game, the team immediately takes to the air to resume their road trek. Tomorrow’s pit stop in Indiana will be followed by games in Utah, Staples Center (Lakers), Oakland (Warriors), and Phoenix to round out the month. While the road trip is a bit daunting, the Hawks can’t afford to get caught tonight looking ahead. It’s best to work out the kinks and fix your flaws in November... when you don’t have Everybody Looking. Let’s Go Hawks! ~lw3 View full record
  4. Lance won't make you dance for a little while. ~lw3
  5. Hope he's never heard of Bourbon Street. http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/17971081/new-orleans-pelicans-forward-dante-cunningham-suspended-one-game ~lw3
  6. It's the voo-doo, AG! The interest in improving Evans and making him the focal point of a faster-paced offense is what drew Gentry to The Big Easy in the first place. That, and Unibrow. And the beignets. ~lw3
  7. “Where the Miller Lite women at?” The New Orleans Pelicans are officially off the schneid, climbing to 1-6 after topping the Mavericks at home last night. They had a chance at their first win there last Friday, wiping out a 17-point fourth quarter lead by the Atlanta Hawks in the space of just six minutes, a run that proved to be quite instructive for the Hawks a few days later. The Pels needed a Career Night from their star, Anthony Davis (career-high 43 points, 33 in the second half; 4 of his team’s 9 steals; 3 of his team’s 7 blocks), just to make things interesting at the end. Can they notch their first road victory tonight at the Highlight Factory (8:00 PM, Fox Sports Southeast, Fox Sports New Orleans), if the pterodactyl-winged Davis cannot join them? Davis’ hip hopped just before halftime in yesterday’s 120-105 victory over Dallas, shortly after contributing 13 points and 5 rebounds in the second quarter alone. It was a 16-point advantage at that point for the Big Easy Birds, who sprinted to a crowd-pleasing 12-0 start and never relinquished the lead, Dallas’ closing flurry too little, too late to evaporate a 28-point lead. Ryan Anderson’s season-highs of 25 points (10-for-16 FGs) and 11 boards, plus recent arrival Ish Smith’s 12 assists, helped New Orleans hold serve the rest of the way. X-rays on his hip contusion proved negative, yet Davis is listed as doubtful to appear tonight. For a continually banged-up outfit, it helped to have center Omer Asik back in the saddle against the Mavs. But he, like Jrue Holiday (15 minutes last night) is time-restrained by head coach Alvin Gentry. Asik was only supposed to log five minutes on the front end of the back-to-back, but wound up totaling 15 minutes through the third quarter, after Davis did not return. How much more Asik plays tonight, and how limited the playing time is for he and Jrue (also listed as doubtful), will be worth monitoring. Eric Gordon (season-high 22 points, 3-for-7 3FGs vs. ATL last Friday) will try picking up the offensive slack, while Luke Babbitt (13 points, 4-for-4 2FGs vs. ATL) will strive to be tonight’s Career Night beneficiary, by sharing Davis’ spot at power forward with Anderson. The Hawks (7-2) catch a bit of a break themselves, as Jeff Teague (24 points, 9 assists, 3 blocks!, 6 TOs vs. Minny) earned no suspension for Bjelica-slapping the opponent during the frustrated stretch where Minnesota finally regained momentum from the Hawks. The Flagrant 2 foul imposed on Teague means he won’t get suspended until he gets three more infraction points during the season. While it was to no avail, Dallas’ quartet of Dirk Nowitzki, Charlie Villanueva, Zaza Pachulia, and Dwight Powell, plus forward Justin Anderson and guard Deron Williams (26-for-38 combined FGs in-the-paint) tried to bruise the defensively fragile Pels (110.3 opponent points per-48, worst in NBA; 58.2 opponent FG% in-the-paint) on the interior. Atlanta can try similar tactics, including the improving decision making of Dennis Schröder (16 assists, 4 TOs last three games), into the mix. But, unlike Dallas, the Hawks must not fail to get back and set defensively in transition, a continual problem on Monday when the Timberwolves blazed to 72 first-half points and a seemingly insurmountable 34-point lead early in the third quarter. Gentry still wants his Pelicans to run, even if it’s into the ground, against a Hawks team that just played its fifth game in seven days. Atlanta may be going through a bit of a metamorphosis with Kyle Korver’s role in the offense. Threezus has been the essential catch-and-shoot king during his Hawks tenure, leading the NBA with 8.5 PPG (and 49.9 FG%) on catch-and-shoot field goal attempts last season; in 2013-14, his 50.6 FG% (8.3 PPG) also was tops. Thus far this season, Kyle’s 5.4 catch-and-shoot PPG (42.9 FG%) ranks him behind Al Horford, Paul Millsap, Kent Bazemore (a scintillating 68.0 FG%), and 29 others. Instead, Korver seems increasingly reliant on dribble hand-off plays (9-for-14 FGs, 2nd-most attempts in league, behind J.J. Redick) to get openings. Are these new wrinkles in Mike Budenholzer’s offense? Are these plays better-suited for Kyle’s early-season conditioning, or are opponents getting finally hip to the game, and closing out better off screens designed to get him open? It will take more time to see if this is The New Normal, but Kyle’s teammates could stand to do a better job of creating better catch-and-release looks for him. Also part of the metamorphosis is Al Horford’s attempt to join Paul Millsap in the three-point-shooting party. While it is admirable to forsake the long-range two-pointers, and his 23.4 3-point shot-volume ratio is only slightly ahead of Jeff Teague’s, Horford’s 31.7 eFG% on spot-up shots ranks only behind Matt Barnes (31.5 eFG%) – and Millsap (27.8 eFG%) among the league’s Top 20 spot-up jumpshooters. Particularly on a team that de-emphasizes offensive rebounding, Millsap and Horford could stand to drive more often from the perimeter and make plays for teammates. With drives and cuts to the lane, Al could draw more contact and take advantage of his 88.9 FT%, currently on just 2.0 FT attempts per game. Teague and Millsap are the only Hawks getting to the free throw line with any frequency, but Atlanta’s top eight scorers are shooting a collective 83.5% from the free throw line. Pushing the rock at a high pace is good if you know what you’re doing; otherwise, you’re just ballin’ out of control. Last season, only the Warriors exceeded 100.0 possessions per-48 in the league for a full season. This year, New Orleans (103.2 pace) is among 14 teams in that 100-plus club; the Hawks (99.98) are among seven other teams just a shade behind them. Remove the Dubs from the equation, and the Top-7 NBA teams in pace have a combined record of 12-30; take out Atlanta’s next opponent, Brad Stevens’ frenetic Celtics, and the cumulative record of the remaining five drops to 9-27. Energetic play must be combined with efficient shot selection, and with sound halfcourt and transition defense. The team that displays these elements best on the floor over four quarters should have a leg up tonight. Thank You Veterans! And Let’s Go Hawks! ~lw3 View full record
  8. Now, they ARE saying she's a gold-digger... http://www.nola.com/saints/index.ssf/2015/01/rita_benson_leblanc_tom_benson.html ~lw3
  9. The Pelican search was Brief. ~lw3
  10. "Make the playoffs, or you're fired!" Pellies absorb a crapton of injuries, make the playoffs, nearly stun the 1-seed a couple times, and... ~lw3
  11. http://www.csnnw.com/blazers/source-babbitt-reaches-agreement-two-year-deal-new-orleans ~lw3
  12. From one team to the next, this Josh just keeps going to and Fro... http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/11/12/report-pelicans-to-sign-josh-childress-to-contract/ ~lw3