DeMarre Carroll says the Hawks took their foot off the gas down the stretch

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The Atlanta Hawks who got swept out of the playoffs by the Cleveland Cavaliers looked nothing like the Atlanta Hawks who won 17 straight games and didn’t lose once in January. Heck, that January team was MIA the final month of the season and most of the playoffs. The uniforms were the same, but aside that it felt like two different teams.

What happened? Injuries were a part of it, but DeMarre Carroll said it was more on the Hawks not being focused. Carroll was on the Sports Radio Talk Show “Go For It”, hosted by former ESPN employee Paul Gant (you can follow it here) and was honest about the Hawks shortcomings.

“I just think that towards the season we knew we were the number one seed we never been in this position before,” Carroll said. “I think we probably took our foot off the gas and I think we learned this season we can’t take the foot off the gas and the good teams can easily play at a high level for a long period of time.”

Carroll on what happened against the Cavaliers, and his knee injury that he played through.

“I think the first game we kind of let it slip away from us,” Carroll said. “We came out the first half really aggressive and I think the second half we didn’t come out wight he same energy and then after that everything started going downhill as far as me being injured, Kyle Korver too, Al (Horford) getting thrown out the game, Shelvin Mack gets injured. So there was a lot of obstacles against us, but you we gotta look forward to next year…

“I was limited big time but the same token many people did not know it was my knee but also had turf toe so it was all on the same leg. Basically, I was just out there on one leg at the same token I got out there I gave it my all but at the end of the day we still came up short as a team.”

Carroll said he thought a healthy Hawks team would have beaten the Cavaliers, adding they really missed Thabo Sefolosha (who missed the entire series after his run in with the NYPD). Not sure what else you would expect a competitor like Carroll to say.

As for Carroll’s pending free agency, he danced around that question.

“You know Atlanta played a big/major role in my life, major part of my family life so it would always be good to get back to Atlanta its a  great system that I grew up in and you know kind of excelled in,” Carroll said. “But, on the same token, my options are open and hopefully its Atlanta they will and have, they will be one of my best options but like I said before my options are open and Mark Bartelstein my agent he will handle all that process. He just told me to sit back and enjoy the ride.”

 

Warriors beat Bulls 119-112 for 14th straight road win

Associated Press
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CHICAGO (AP) — When the Splash Brothers are making their shots, even Kevin Durant is content with a supporting role.

Such is life for the Golden State Warriors.

Klay Thompson scored 38 points, Stephen Curry added 30 and the Warriors beat the Chicago Bulls 119-112 on Wednesday night for their franchise record-tying 14th straight road win.

“It was an old-school Splash Brother game,” coach Steve Kerr said.

The “Splash Brothers” nickname for Thompson and Curry has faded in prominence since Durant joined the duo before last season, but the sharpshooting guards can still put on a show. Thompson was 7 for 13 from 3-point range and Curry was 6 for 11 from behind the arc; no other player made a 3 for the Warriors.

“When they got it going like that, you just play your role and know your place, man,” Durant said.

Durant had 19 points, eight rebounds and seven assists as Golden State moved into a tie for the third-longest road winning streak in a season in NBA history. The Los Angeles Lakers hold the record with 16 straight road wins during the 1971-72 season.

Next up for the NBA-leading Warriors (37-9) is a prime-time showdown with Houston on Saturday in the finale of a five-game trip.

“It’s going to be a very tough game Saturday, probably the toughest of the trip,” Thompson said, “and if we could go undefeated on this road trip that would be incredible.”

Nikola Mirotic scored 24 points for Chicago, which dropped to 14-8 since its 3-20 start. Robin Lopez scored 12 of his 16 points in the first half, and Kris Dunn also had 16.

“We played three quarters of really good basketball, but you take one off against a team like this, you’re not going to win,” coach Fred Hoiberg said.

The Warriors played without Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala due to injuries, and Jordan Bell sprained his left ankle when he challenged Lopez’s dunk on the Bulls’ first possession. Bell stayed down for a while and then was helped to his feet. He tried to put pressure on his leg and grimaced before he opted for a wheelchair ride off the court.

The 23-year-old Bell was selected by the Bulls in the second round of the June draft and then dealt to the Warriors for financial considerations. X-rays were negative, but he was using crutches and a walking boot after the win and will have an MRI on Thursday.

“It was definitely way worse than a normal sprain,” Bell said. “Like I said, I thought I broke it.”

Thompson and Curry led the way as Golden State outscored Chicago 32-12 in the third quarter to open a 95-78 lead. Curry made a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 9:23 left in the period, sparking a 19-0 run for the Warriors.

The Bulls made a late charge, closing to 112-107 on Dunn’s fast-break dunk with 2:55 left. Dunn landed awkwardly on the play and his face slammed into the floor. He was being evaluated for a possible concussion after the loss.

The NBA champion Warriors responded with Thompson’s driving layup and a three-point play for Durant. Thompson also made two foul shots with 17.4 seconds left to help Golden State secure the win.

 

PBT Extra: Fan votes from twitter on MVP, other awards

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We reached the middle of the NBA season, which is a good time to consider where things stand for the end-of-season awards such as MVP, Rookie of the Year, and Coach of the Year. We have made our picks and even broken them down in a podcast.

Now it was time to ask you who you thought should win awards.

I put it out there on Twitter in some polls, and I cover your responses in this PBT Extra. I’m with you on Brad Stevens for Coach of the Year, although I think it’s close. Did you choose LeBron James or James Harden for MVP? Watch and find out.

Michael Carter-Williams and Tim Frazier ejected for altercation, leading to hilarious Dwight Howard free throws (video)

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Jason Smith pushed down Michael Carter-Williams while going for a rebound. Carter-Williams pulled Smith to the floor. Tim Frazier flew in heated.

It was more than a typical NBA altercation – Carter-Williams clenched his fist, though never swung – but it wasn’t quite a fight. It was just reserves getting feisty late in a blowout, the Hornets’ 133-109 win over the Wizards on Wednesday. Carter-Williams and Frazier were given double technical fouls and ejected.

One catch: Smith was called for personally fouling Carter-Williams, who was due free throws. With Carter-Williams unavailable, Washington could pick his replacement at the line.

Wizards coach Scott Brooks chose Dwight Howard, a poor free-throw shooter who’d been resting the entire fourth quarter and surely figured his night was over. Maybe it was only about Howard’s team-worst 53% shooting from the line, but it’s also possible Brooks was trying to make an opponent uncomfortable.

The Charlotte crowd went wild, and Howard only added to the fervor.

He sunk both free throws – padding his stats (18 points, 15 rebounds, two blocks and two steals) – and blew Brooks a kiss. Howard might appreciate the extra points Brooks afforded him, but they’ll likely come at a cost. Howard celebrated with the Sam Cassell/big-balls dance, which usually draws a fine from the NBA.

Kent Bazemore hits game-winner to lift Hawks over Pelicans (video)

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Just when it seemed as if the Pelicans were rolling… they lose to the lowly Hawks.

This was the second game of a back-to-back after beating the Celtics in overtime, and New Orleans looked the part, blowing a 15-point lead in the final 19 minutes.

Kent Bazemore‘s jumper with 2.1 seconds left stood as the game-winner when DeMarcus Cousins missed a rushed post-up on the other end.