Atlanta Hawks: Nobody wins these Hunger Games


atlanta hawks

Well, on the bright side, this week the Atlanta Hawks upset the Miami Heat 121-114 and then beat the Orlando Magic 112-109.

But in the past few days that sunshine sure left in a hurry.

On Friday it was revealed that Pero Antic will be out 2-4 weeks with stress fracture in his right ankle that probably occurred last week against Brooklyn. This is rough news for the Hawks who are already depleted on the frontline with Al Horford out for the year. Based off of last night’s good ole fashioned dismantling by the seemingly ageless San Antonio Spurs, it seems that Gustavo Ayon will be the nominal starter and split time at center with Elton Brand. Although it would seem that Brand would be a better option than Ayon, he’s 34 and probably isn’t capable of handling heavy minutes. Strangely enough, Ayon had the best plus-minus last night with -7 and Brand the worst with -19.

It was also revealed yesterday that DeMarre Carroll wouldn’t be playing with a right hamstring injury. Hopefully this will be a short-term injury that won’t keep him out for too long—he was initially listed as out for two games but he has been reclassified today as a game-time decision. The Junkyard Dog has been playing the best basketball of his career and has been one of the Hawks better defenders this season and has been longing the majority of the team’s minutes at Small Forward.

And if taking out those two wasn’t enough to torpedo the Hawk’s starting unit Jeff Teague suffered a left ankle sprain early against the Spurs and will be sidelined through at least the next two games. This comes at a poor time for Teague who has been in the conversation for an All-Star spot. Unfortunately, January has not been kind to him. He has not shot above .500 yet (excluding the Spurs game where he only played 14 minutes) and has only gone 5 of 30 from 3. His assists have also largely dropped off but that can be attributed in large part to having lost Horford. Hopefully this time off will give him a chance to heal up anything that has been nagging him recently and refocus. In the meanwhile we’ll be seeing a lot of run from Shelvin Mack and Dennis Schroeder who has been out of the rotation for the most part recently.

This leaves Paul Millsap and Kyle Korver left standing in this Atlanta Hawks version of the Hunger Games in which nobody wins, although Millsap has to be the prevailing favorite to be Katniss. He’s stepped up his play so far this year, especially in the wake of Horford being out. Many consider him to be All-Star material and now with many of the starting unit out he’ll figure to play an even larger role.

Tonight the Hawks will be taking on the woeful Milwaukee Bucks and so there shouldn’t be too much worry there regardless of who’s injured, but Monday will be the real test if Kevin Durant is still playing out of his mind.