Tag: Shelvin Mack

Cleveland Cavaliers v Atlanta Hawks - Game One

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


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.”


Hawks’ Shelvin Mack suffered ‘pretty bad’ shoulder separation against Cavaliers

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Between Thabo Sefolosha, Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carroll, Paul Millsap and Al Horford, the Hawks faced far too many injuries during the playoffs.

To rub salt in the wound, there was one more during garbage time of Atlanta’s elimination loss to the Cavaliers.

Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Shelvin Mack will have surgery for a Grade 5 separation of the right shoulder on Tuesday. The Hawks guard said he would miss 3-4 months with the injury which included ligament damage.

“It’s pretty bad,” Mack said Thursday during exit interviews.

The good news for Mack: His contract is fully guaranteed for next season.

The good news for the Hawks: Jeff Teague is their starter, and Dennis Schröder has emerged as the clear backup. Atlanta signed Mack as a placeholder while Schröder developed, and that has happened pretty quickly. The Hawks can easily allow Mack time to heal – even if that goes into training camp or even the season.

Cavs’ improved defense deserves credit for commanding 2-0 Eastern Conference Finals lead


After Friday night’s 94-82 win in Atlanta, the Cavs are two wins away from a trip to the Finals. And, believe it or not, a large reason for this is their defense. That end of the floor was Cleveland’s Achilles’ heel during the regular season, but they’ve made plenty of adjustments in the playoffs, and through the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals, they’ve been able to handle the Hawks’ once-unguardable offense.

Everything the Hawks tried to do on Friday, the Cavs had a counter for. Out of Kyle Korver’s 11 shot attempts, eight were contested, and he shot 2-for-8 on those. With DeMarre Carroll hobbled but still playing big minutes, the Hawks were down one consistent contributor, and that allowed Cleveland’s wing defenders (Iman Shumpert and even the likes of James Jones) to double on Korver more, neutralizing maybe the Hawks’ most dangerous offensive weapon.

In general, the Hawks were ice-cold from long range, shooting just 6-for-26. And some of those shots were simply ones they normally make, but Cleveland has been much more consistent of late in rotating and taking away open looks. And the open looks they have allowed have been for the players that are the least dangerous. They’re still letting Jeff Teague shoot whatever he wants, and he isn’t making them pay for it. He shot 5-for-16 on Friday, including 2-for-6 from three. The Hawks also didn’t get much offensively out of Dennis Schroder or Shelvin Mack, both of whom were forced into larger roles as the Hawks became more banged-up.

Timofey Mozgov’s box-score numbers weren’t that impressive on Friday, but since his midseason trade to the Cavs, he’s been a game-changer for them on the defensive end, a mobile big man who can protect the rim.

And not enough can be said about Tristan Thompson, who has had something of a coming-out party in the playoffs. His dominance on the glass has been key, and he had more defensive rebounds (11) than the Hawks had offensive rebounds as a team (7). He’s been everywhere, and his impact has been impossible for the Hawks to ignore.

The story for the Cavs out of this game is going to be LeBron James, and rightly so. He was sensational in all areas 0f the game on Friday. But as they get closer to the Finals, and likely a matchup with the Warriors, the Cavaliers deserve lots of credit for finally stabilizing their defense into something championship-worthy.

Hawks’ DeMarre Carroll (kind of) explains why he wasn’t on floor to defend Paul Pierce’s game-winner

Atlanta Hawks v Washington Wizards-Game Three

The Hawks had an unusual lineup on the floor to defend the Wizards on Game 3’s final possession, but at least part of that was a product of circumstances.

Atlanta’s reserves were the ones who put together a late 21-3 run to bring the Hawks back from the dead, and seldom-used Mike Muscala of all people was the one who hit the three-pointer to tie the game at 101 with 14 seconds left.

So, the lineup that was in place to defend what ended up being Paul Pierce’s game-winner consisted of Kyle Korver, Kent Bazemore, Shelvin Mack, Dennis Schröder and Muscala — a group which, as far as I can tell, had never logged even a single minute together before that fateful possession.

We saw what happened next — Pierce ended up being guarded by the much smaller Schröder for some reason, the help from Bazemore came late, and Pierce was able to elevate for his patented step-back jumper, which banked home just before time expired.

DeMarre Carroll has been the best player for the Hawks in these playoffs, and is one of the team’s better defenders. He should have been out there to lock up Pierce, and in fact, head coach Mike Budenholzer evidently wanted it that way. But somewhat oddly, Carroll seemed to bow out of accepting the assignment.

The Hawks were already dealing with a substandard version of Paul Millsap, who didn’t start because he was dealing with flu-like symptoms, and was largely ineffective in 22 minutes off the bench. If Carroll isn’t right physically as he seemed to indicate (although his answers to why he wasn’t on the floor were far from revealing), Atlanta could be eliminated sooner than anyone expected.

Adjusting for playoff rotations round two: Watch out for the Wizards

Kent Bazemore, John Wall, Paul Pierce

Before the playoffs began, I assessed each team based on projected postseason rotation.

Here’s the idea:

In an attempt to get better data, I’ve used nba wowy! to rank playoff teams by regular-season net rating (offensive rating minus defensive rating), counting only the lineups that include five players projected to be in the team’s post-season rotation.

This measure is far from perfect. It doesn’t account for opponent or weigh lineups based on how often they’ll be used in the postseason, and it’s impossible to precisely predict a team’s playoff rotation.

The system and straight seeding differed twice for the first round, each method correctly predicting one of those two series:

  • My projection correct: Wizards over Raptors
  • Seeding correct: Bucks over Bulls

We now have more information – both about which players actually made the postseason rotation and how teams fared in the first round.

Here are the new adjusted ratings from full regular season to pre-playoff projection to pre-second round projection (counting first-round games and updating the postseason rotation when necessary):


5. Washington Wizards

  • Offensive rating: 104.3 to 107.7 to 112.3
  • Defensive rating: 103.5 to 101.1 to 100.9
  • Net rating: +0.8 to +6.6 to +11.4

Kevin Seraphin, not Kris Humphries as I predicted, made the playoff rotation. That would have boosted the Wizards’ pre-playoff projection even higher, and they were already a sleeper based on this model.

A sweep of the Raptors supported all the positivity these numbers suggested about Washington.

2. Cleveland Cavaliers

  • Offensive rating: 111.7 to 118.2 to 114.2
  • Defensive rating: 106.9 to 101.0 to 105.6
  • Net rating: +4.8 to +17.2 to +8.6

I left James Jones out of my projected playoff rotation. Including him would have weakened the Cavaliers’ pre-playoff adjusted numbers on both ends of the floor, but they still would have ranked second in the league behind the Warriors for adjusted net rating.

Of course, Kevin Love is the big issue headed into the next round. It’s unclear how David Blatt will replace the power forward, but I added Mike Miller and Shawn Marion to the rotation. If it’s just one of the two or neither with no other replacement, the Cavs’ adjusted net rating would be a little better.

Remove J.R. Smith, who’s suspended the first two games though counted as part of the rotation here, and Cleveland actually fares a little better on both ends (with Miller and Marion in the rotation) than it would with Smith.

Still, the picture is clear: Cleveland gets downgraded significantly without Love. Enough to lose to the Bulls? Not according to this model.

3. Chicago Bulls

  • Offensive rating: 107.7 to 108.6 to 108.4
  • Defensive rating: 104. 4 to 103.3 to 102.5
  • Net rating: +3.3 to +5.3 to +5.9

I didn’t include Tony Snell in the Bulls’ playoff rotation, but he stuck, even when Kirk Hinrich was healthy. Had I included Snell, Chicago would have fared slightly better in my first-round projections.

To the surprise of many, the Bucks pushed the Bulls to six games, but that doesn’t give me pause about Chicago. The pre-playoff projection was high on Milwaukee, and though the model actually rated the Bucks above the Bulls, I think the actual result showed the point of the projection. It’s one data point of many, and the lesson should have been that the first-round series could be closer than expected – which happened.

1. Atlanta Hawks

  • Offensive rating: 109.6 to 109.9 to 110.0
  • Defensive rating: 103.8 to 104.9 to 105.1
  • Net rating: +5.8 to +5.0 to +4.9

I incorrectly left Shelvin Mack out of the predicted rotation, though he wouldn’t have changed much.

There were reasons to be concerned about the Hawks entering the playoffs based on this model. A six-game series against the Nets was surprising, because Brooklyn also looked weak. But the first-round matchup also exposed issues with Atlanta this model predicted.

Pick the No. 1 seed to advance at your own risk.


1. Golden State Warriors

  • Offensive rating: 111.7 to 116.4 to 114.7
  • Defensive rating: 101.3 to 95.7 to 99.1
  • Net rating: +10.4 to +20.7 to +15.6

I didn’t include Marreese Speights and Leandro Barbosa in the Warriors’ rotation, but Steve Kerr did. If I had, Golden State’s projection would have suffered on both ends of the floor.

The Warriors are favored here regardless, but I believe if necessary, they can trim their rotation and become even stronger.

3. Los Angeles Clippers

  • Offensive rating: 113.2 to 117.5 to 118.8
  • Defensive rating: 106.3 to 105.9 to 105.4
  • Net rating: +6.9 to +11.6 to +13.4

I mistakenly had Spencer Hawes in the playoff rotation, but it’s clear Doc Rivers doesn’t trust him. Removing Hawes doesn’t make much difference, though it improves the Clippers’ adjusted rating a bit on both ends of the floor.

The big issue: Will Chris Paul be healthy? A playoff rotation without him projects to have an offensive/defensive/net rating of 97.0/108.1/-11.1. That’s disastrous, but it’s a small sample and overly relies on bench-heavy units. Blake Griffin and the Clippers’ other starters just didn’t play that much without Paul.

If Paul is healthy, the Clippers rate better than the Rockets. If not, lower – though it’s not clear just how much lower Los Angeles actually should be.

2. Houston Rockets

  • Offensive rating: 107.5 to 110.1 to 112.3
  • Defensive rating: 104.0 to 101.0  to 101.2
  • Net rating: 3.5 to +9.1 to +11.1

Clint Capela, not Joey Dorsey, was Houston’s backup center – and that would have boosted their pre-playoff projection on both ends of the floor.

For the most part, the Rockets are the steadier team in their second-round matchup. It’s Paul’s health that should determine everything.

Make no mistake, though: Houston’s playoff rotation is good and will require the Clippers to play well to advance.

5. Memphis Grizzlies

  • Offensive rating: 106.2 to 108.0 to 109.1
  • Defensive rating: 102.7 to 102.7 to 102.8
  • Net rating: +3.5 to +5.3 to +6.3

I included Mike Conley in this projection. If he can’t play, the offensive/defensive/net splits go to 107.3/101.6+5.7.

That’s not as large a drop as I anticipated, but it probably doesn’t matter much. The Grizzlies land well behind the Warriors either way.