The Atlanta Hawks rolled into Philadelphia Tuesday night fresh off of back-to-back losses to a suddenly resurgent New York Knicks team. Atlanta needed a win and delivered with one of their best offensive performances of the season racking up 126 points on 53 percent shooting to go along with 36 assists.
Mike Budenholzer applauded the ball movement to reporters after the game saying that Atlanta is at their best when it is moving from side to side.
"I thought the ball really moved," Mike Budenholzer said. "There were some possessions where it just kept moving from one side to the other. When we play like that, that's when we're at our best."
Philly's struggles are well documented and Brett Brown was critical of their defensive effort following the game. Still coming off two losses, the Hawks were in need of any kind of win they could get. Now the test before them yet again is to find some consistency and build upon this victory.
The team is finally back healthy with the return of Tiago Splitter and Tim Hardaway Jr looks like he is finally in position to contribute to the rotation.
Atlanta has gone back and forth between good and mediocre for much of the season. They are above .500 and in the thick of things in a tightly contested Eastern Conference but they have thus far failed to differentiate themselves from the rest of the teams. Now that they are healthy again, they have the opportunity to do that.
Tim Hardaway Jr moves into rotation, has impact
Tim Hardaway Jr's season has been well documented but his best moment so far came on Tuesday when he scored all eight of his points during Atlanta's 39 point second quarter. Hardaway knocked down a pair of threes during the run and finished with eight points, two rebounds and three assists in 19 minutes in the game.
His scoring has never really been in doubt but by all accounts, his focus has been on improving the other areas of his game and it has paid off with another opportunity for playing time.
Decent minutes for Tim Hardaway Jr tonight. Trying to do the right/Hawksy things on both ends. Jerami Grant wants to hurt everything, always— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) January 8, 2016
Tiago Splitter returns to the court and to the rotation
Tiago Splitter returned to the court on Tuesday night after missing three games with what was described as a mild calf strain. Splitter missed a large chunk of last season with a similar injury and the Hawks are wise to play it safe with him. He was noticeably rusty in his return finishing with four points and four rebounds in 14 minutes of action.
Splitter's return meant a return to the inactive list for Walter Tavares. While that might be disappointing to some, the Hawks need Splitter healthy and contributing if they hope to have success in the playoffs. Tavares showed with his recent stint though that he may not be far away from contributing. There are still areas that he needs to shore up but he once again showed that he could be a big part of the team's future.