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Official March Hawks Game Thread


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We Asked Fans At Suns-Hawks Whether They’re Rooting For Wins Or Lottery Position

 

Robby Kalland

UPROXX  


 

The Atlanta Hawks (19-44) squared off with the Phoenix Suns (19-45) on Sunday afternoon at Philips Arena in a matchup of two teams vying for the best odds in this year’s NBA Draft Lottery. Both teams picked up wins this week, with Phoenix beating the Grizzlies — giving Memphis the NBA’s worst record — and Atlanta scoring a surprising home win over the Pacers, but both remain a half game back, very much in the race for 25 percent of the ping pong balls.

The crowd at Philips Arena on Sunday afternoon was better than one would have expected for a matchup between teams that have won a combined 30 percent of their games. The timing also certainly helped. A 3:30 p.m. tip-off on a Sunday is the sweet spot to catch folks in Atlanta — plenty of time to get to church, Sunday dinner, go to the game and get back for supper — and by the end of the first quarter the arena was at least three quarters full.

However, despite it being a fairly full arena (again, not a sellout by any stretch) the atmosphere was a bit strange. There was a palpable tension in the air, with the occasional three-pointer garnering big applause and plenty of groans for the negative plays. The two teams playing extraordinarily sloppy basketball contributed to that, as eight combined turnovers in the first 3:30 of the game quickly set the bar for the quality of basketball that would be on display, but so did the stakes of the game.

Going to an NBA game requires a pretty solid commitment of time and money, and as a fan, your primary purpose to root for your team to win. For a tanking team, though, understanding the long-term goal makes this something of a moral dilemma.

 

2018 UPROXX Media

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There’s 4 teams worse than us right now. Suns, King’s, Mavericks, and Grizzlies.

This sucks.

At this rate, we could probably kiss Ayton, Bagley, Porter Jr. and Doncic goodbye. Shifting focus to Mo Bamba, Jaren Jackson, Miles Bridges, Mikal Bridges, and Wendell Carter.

 

 

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We just can't tank right when going up against professional tankers like the Suns.
Pick #41, a 10 day Gleaguer, Prince, a skittish Moose and one overpaid Plumlee and the Hawks still win. Is Bud this good or the Suns with all the so called assets and bright young stars this bad?
I understand we want the best pick, but Bud played the dregs of the roster (except Prince) to close the game and we still won. Can't be mad at that.


Happy for Prince that he hit a game winner. He needs a lot of work this summer in his handles.

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NBA draft lottery watch: After two wins in a week, Hawks still in mix for top odds 

 

By Michael Cunningham

myajc  


 
4h ago, March 05, 2018
Depending on how you view that final game before the All-Star break, Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer made his first real gesture at tanking on Sunday against the Suns (who long ago stopped pretending they aren’t doing the same). That’s no small thing because, after all, the losses go on Budenholzer’s record.

Budenholzer rested Kent Bazemore, who’s been no worse than the team’s second-best player this season. Budenholzer left Dennis Schroder on the bench in the fourth quarter even with Malcolm Delaney injured and Isaiah Thomas ejected. Thus the Hawks finished the game with no true point guard, two rookies in the backcourt (a second-round pick and a 10-day contract guy) and reserve bigs Mike Muscala and Miles Plumlee.

There is value for the Hawks in playing young guys in that spot but clearly the Hawks didn’t send out their best available lineup. The Hawks won, anyway. That is good for those Hawks supporters who like to see their team win but potentially bad for those on Team Tank.

The victory rebukes those who say players don’t go all-out in these situations, which should be obvious but is a belief that seems to persist anyway. The same is true for the victory over the Pacers and the spirited effort in the loss to the Warriors. The Lakers walloped the Hawks but I think they are a bad matchup because of their speed and athleticism (plus the Lakers really are playing better).

It may turn out that two victories in a week, including one over a playoff-bound team, won’t hurt the Hawks’ lottery standing. FiveThirtyEight.com’s latest projection has the Hawks finishing with a 25-57 record, tied with three other teams for third-worst in the league behind the Suns and Grizzlies. That’s the same Hawks record that FiveThirtyEight projected before the Lakers game, which then was tied with two other teams for second-worst behind the Suns.

It could turn out that the past week gave the Hawks the best of all worlds. They got their young prospects meaningful minutes, earned a couple victories and made the best team in the league work for a W. Those can be important for player development and maintaining a competitive culture.

And yet the Hawks also remain on track to have a good chance at the top pick. The Hawks still have a tough schedule left, so there will be plenty of opponents better-suited than the Suns to take advantage of their tank lineups.

The Hawks are among seven teams with 20 victories or fewer, and at least half of those foes have fully embraced the tank. It might come down to the end but it’s still realistic for the Hawks to nab the top lottery odds after what’s been a good week for them.

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