The night began with a bit of a shock, as veteran wing Kyle Korver was dealt to the Cleveland Cavaliers just minutes before the game tipped off. Korver warmed up with the team and sat on the bench throughout the contest, leading to a rather unusual environment. In addition, rumors swirled on social media about Paul Millsap’s impending exit during the game, and it now seems as if the Hawks are in the midst of a rebuild.
Despite all of this, Atlanta came out on top in this game and actually moved up to the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. It is uncommon for a team in the thick of the playoff hunt to commit to such drastic changes, but the Hawks’ management does not see a way to compete with the likes of the Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors.
Dennis Schroder Does it Again
The catalyst for the Hawks was point guard Dennis Schroder, who went for 23 points, contributed seven rebounds, and dished out four assists. He has become a consistent performer for this team as of late, and it is an encouraging sign for a player who just signed a long-term deal here. Millsap, the center of some trade drama, didn’t shoot the ball particularly well but found other ways to assist in the victory. This is just the beginning of the Millsap talk, with a trade involving him reportedly “on deck.”
The 35-year-old veteran, Kyle Korver, did not play due to the trade that will send him to Cleveland, and it opened up playing time for rookie wing DeAndre Bembry. He and fellow rookie Taurean Prince will likely both see an uptick in minutes, with Tim Hardaway Jr. also filling a bigger role. Hardaway Jr. hit some key shots down the stretch, finishing with 14 points to go with four three-pointers.
Dwight Howard finished with another double-double, but his role with the team is now up in the air as well. Even though he just signed with the Hawks a few months ago, reports indicate that any and all of the veterans are on the trading block. It is more likely for names like Millsap, Thabo Sefolosha and Kris Humphries to be dealt, but Howard is not out of the equation.
Disappointment for Anthony Davis
The Pelicans struggled to get the offense rolling until late in the game, and star forward Anthony Davis was very quiet early. He finished with a solid 20 points and 19 rebounds but did not receive enough production from his teammates to seal a win. Jrue Holiday and Buddy Hield each hit four three-pointers, but the team was too dependent on the outside shot throughout the game.
As a side note, a report during the game stated that the Pelicans are also active participants in the Paul Millsap sweepstakes. Millsap is a Louisiana native, and thus the organization believes that he would be more likely to re-sign with them in the summer.
The 14-23 Pelicans travel to face the Boston Celtics on Saturday as Anthony Davis looks to match up with former Hawk Al Horford.
The 20-16 Hawks also play on Saturday against the struggling Dallas Mavericks. It will be interesting to see if the roster looks different by that time or if the front office will give it a little more time before making additional moves.