Charlotte Bobcats v Atlanta Hawks

It’s pretty much what you’d expect: Hawks cruise past Bobcats

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The Hawks are hot. They have won 5 out of 6 and if you want to look a little farther back 11 out of their last 13.

Then you can look at their schedule and say they did it against weaker teams (the lost to the Heat this week). I’d say so what? At the end of the day you have to beat the teams when you play them on the schedule and the Hawks have done that.

They did it again Thursday night in the one non-national game, thrashing the Charlotte Bobcats 113-90. It was pretty much the game we expected it to be.

The Hawks are 14-6 and, while it is far too early to put weight on such things, sit as the current three seed in the East. The reason is defense — Atlanta is the fifth best in NBA this season coming into the game and in the first half they showed the Bobcats why, holding them to 35.9 percent shooting and just 3-of-11 from three. Gerald Henderson gave Charlotte a solid 9 points, but Byron Mullens was 0-7 in the first half.

On the other end the Hawks did what they wanted — they shot 59.5 percent overall and were 9-of-16 from three. Devin Harris came in off the bench and attacked, getting 16 in the first half on 6-of-7 shooting (he finished with 20), Josh Smith had 12 at the break (he finished with 16) and even hit one of his threes.

It was a 17-point game at the half, 60-43.

Hawks sealed this thing by going on a run to start the third quarter, taking the lead up to 28. Even when the Bobcats made a 10-0 run in the third it didn’t matter. The Hawks bench scored 56 points, led by Ivan Johnson who had 16 points and a game-high eight rebounds, as the Hawks cruised.

The Bobcats show a lot of signs of a young team — they do not communicate well on defensive switches at all. They didn’t get back in transition consistently.

A veteran team playing at all focused, like the Hawks, blow those things up. And they did.

Which is pretty much what we all expected in this game.

Gordon Hayward goes behind Jordan Clarkson’s back with dribble

Gordon Hayward, Nick Young
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Utah’s Gordon Hayward abused the Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson on this play.

First, Hayward reads and steals Clarkson’s poor feed into the post intended for Kobe Bryant, then going up the sideline he takes his dribble behind Clarkson’s back to keep going. It all ends in a Rudy Gobert dunk.

Three quick takeaways here:

1) Gordon Hayward is a lot better than many fans realize. He can lead this team.

2) It’s still all about the development with Clarkson, and that’s going to mean some hard lessons.

3) Hayward may have the best hair in the NBA, even if it’s going a bit Macklemore.

(Hat tip reddit)

Could Tristan Thompson’s holdout last months? Windhorst says yes.

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five

VIZZINI: “So, it is down to you. And it is down to me.”
MAN IN BLACK nods and comes nearer…
MAN IN BLACK: “Perhaps an arrangement can be reached.”
VIZZINI: “There will be no arrangement…”
MAN IN BLACK: “But if there can be no arrangement, then we are at an impasse.”

That farcical scene from The Princess Bride pretty much sums up where we are with the Tristan Thompson holdout with the Cleveland Cavaliers, minus the Iocane powder. (Although that scene was a battle of wits in the movie and this process seems to lack much wit.) The Cavaliers have put a five-year, $80 million offer on the table. Thompson wants a max deal (or at least a more than has been offered), but he also doesn’t want to play for the qualifying offer and didn’t sign it. LeBron James just wants the two sides just to get it done.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN thinks LeBron could be very disappointed.

Windhorst was on the Zach Lowe podcast at Grantland (which you should be listening to anyway) and had this to say about the Thompson holdout:

“I actually believe it will probably go months. This will go well into the regular season.”

Windhorst compared it to a similar situation back in 2007 with Anderson Varejao, which eventually only broke because the then Charlotte Bobcats signed Varejao to an offer sheet. Thompson is a restricted free agent, meaning the Cavaliers can match any offer, but only Portland and Philadelphia have the cap space right now to offer him a max contract. Neither team has shown any interest in doing so.

And so we wait. And we may be waiting a while.