Smiling through the pain with the Atlanta Hawks

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Wow. What’s worse than a 3 game losing streak? A 6 game losing streak.

The Atlanta Hawks came into the week on a 3 game skid. The Hawks closed the week on a 3 game skid. There’s nothing good about a 6 game losing streak, but you’ve got to smile through the pain.

The positives

Rookie DeAndre Hunter has given the Hawks fan base something to be excited about. He averaged 23.6 points per game this week and shot over 50% from the field. Cam Reddish only played against the Bucks this week but played his best game of the season. He hit all of his 3 point attempts and scored a season/career high of 17 points. Seeing Reddish have that type of game reminds Hawks fans why he was selected so early.

On another positive note, despite a monstrous game from Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Hawks made a late surge with a few minutes to go. The game felt more like a blowout than an eight point loss, but seeing the team fight was definitely a positive. Eric Bledsoe played out of his mind scoring 28 points. Outside of that, no other Bucks player really made their imprint on the game. That’s the type of fight you love to see in a team, especially with them being on a six game losing streak.

Well. There’s going to be more negatives than positives during any losing streak.

The not so positives 

Brace yourselves. Defense. The Hawks haven’t played well defensively. Opposing teams averaged a ridiculous 53% from the field throughout the week. FIFTY. THREE. Giving up nearly 42% on three’s is no better. This team has got to defend better collectively. One or two players being good individually isn’t enough, this team needs to play better defensively as a whole.

Injuries appear to be contagious. Kevin Huerter and now Cam Reddish have both been sidelined with injuries. Huerter won’t even be evaluated again for another week with a left rotator cuff strain. Reddish suffered a left wrist sprain Wednesday during the Bucks game. Reddish’s injury appears to be less serious, as he’s listed as day to day. Both Huerter and Reddish are important to what the Hawks want to do. Speedy recovery guys, speedy recovery.

Others. The others. On Friday, Trae Young has a 30 point triple double. No, that’s not a typo. Hawks loss the game by 3 points. In no world should a team lose a game where a player has a 30 point triple double. Hunter scored 26 but, outside of that, no player got more then 15 points. In today’s NBA where teams score over 110 nightly, you’re going to need multiple 20 point scorers and a 15+ one. Jabari Parker is second in scoring with 16.6 per game, but that isn’t enough. He needs to be around 20, and another player at 15, for the Hawks to have a fighters shot at the playoffs.

Last, but most importantly, big man play. Alex Len and Bruno Fernando haven’t been effective, at all for the Atlanta Hawks. For context, Trae Young led the team in rebounds against Detroit and Toronto. Granted, they aren’t playing many minutes but that’s partly due to their inability to effect the game. At no point should 5’9, Trae Young have the most rebounds for this team.

Fernando possesses the skills to catch the ball and get a bucket, but we haven’t seen it. Fernando has been demoted to the G-League. The hope is that he improves his game and gains some confidence in his ability. Len has the ability to score from plenty of places, but hasn’t consistently shown it. Big man play, hasn’t been good at all for the Hawks.

Additionally, factor in the absence of John Collins, and the bigs have been virtually non-existent for the Hawks. Len, Fernando will have to make something happen. Otherwise, this 6 game streak, will more than likely double.

On a positive note the Atlanta Hawks are in the East. East is better, but still not particularly good. Win some games in December, and they’re looking at being right back in that playoff picture. Time will tell.

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