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Hawks’ fourth quarter offense sputters in seventh straight loss

A competitive game, but the Hawks fall short once again.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks dropped their seventh straight game as they fell to a 119-109 defeat at the hands of the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday evening.

(Sir) Robert Covington led the Sixers with 22 points — 6-of-11 from behind the arc — while Joel Embiid also added 21 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, three steals and three blocks. The Hawks were led by Dennis Schröder’s 25 points on 10-of-17 shooting from the field, while Taurean Prince added 17 points.

Fourth quarter offense

After coming back from a 17 point deficit — and even taking the lead just before the end of the third quarter — the Hawks put themselves in contention to win/be in this game heading into the fourth quarter.

But the fourth quarter offense apparently didn’t get the memo...

The Hawks were scoreless in the fourth quarter until the 6:39 mark (remaining) in the fourth quarter, where Kent Bazemore’s free throw snapped a five minute drought. Even after that, the Hawks didn’t score a field goal until the 5:36 mark, going more than half of the quarter without a basket.

In the end, the Hawks shot 5-of-20 in the fourth quarter while the Sixers shot 11-of-27, as they outscored the Hawks 26-16 in the fourth quarter to take the game.

How did Hawks manage to go scoreless for so long? Why couldn’t they get anything going? Let’s take a quick look...

For the most part, the Hawks got some pretty good looks but just couldn’t hit them.

Coming off of the Dedmon screen, Isaiah Taylor gets a great look inside the paint, but he can’t hit the tear-drop:

With Joel Embiid in close proximity, Taylor might have rushed into this shot...

Marco Belinelli and Dewayne Dedmon play the two-man game, and after Dedmon receives the ball from Belinelli, he rises into that mid-range J, but misses badly:

That’s a decent look for Dedmon — he can hit that. This one just went awry.

Taylor and Dedmon link up again, and Taylor finds himself in the paint again. He tries to the lift his floater home-and-away but it’s short:

Another decent look that doesn’t go down.

After getting a defensive stop, the Hawks go the other way. Dennis Schröder finds Kent Bazemore in transition, who launches into a straightaway-three and it misses:

Even though there’s a lot of time left on the shot clock, this is a decently open look for a decent three-point shooter.

And to cap off missed opportunities, Luke Babbitt misses this wide open three in the corner:

When that shot isn’t going in, you know its not your quarter...

The Hawks had plenty of good looks, they just couldn’t take them.

You have to give the Sixers credit too — you don’t just hold a team to an 0-of-11 shooting stretch without playing some good defense.

In the pick-and-roll, Joel Embiid hedges well, preventing Taylor from turning the corner (and he was having success getting to the rim), and when the Hawks reset the pick-and-roll — again — Embiid defends it very well. Taylor, somehow, squeezes it to Dedmon and the mid-range J is missed:

Great play from Taylor here, to get Dedmon the ball after all that defensive pressure while keeping his dribble too... Almost something out of nothing.

Again, in the pick-and-roll, the Sixers prevent the Hawks from penetrating. Amir Johnson does a good job cutting off the driving lane, and Schröder is forced to pass the ball. It ends up in the hands of Bazemore, whose three is missed:

Bayless does well here shading over to Muscala before contesting Bazemore’s shot.

And, finally, some one-on-one defense — Bayless does a great job staying in front of Schröder (something the Sixers generally struggled with in this game), forcing Dennis to give the ball up to Babbitt in the corner, who’s out of bounds, leading to a turnover:

For as much as the Hawks struggled, the Sixers didn’t make it easy, either.

When asked about the Hawks’ 0-of-11, four turnover start to the fourth, Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer responded, “Not good. That’s not good if you’re a basketball team.”

“Some of the looks were good, we felt good about the looks,” Bud continued. “Sometimes the defense turned up the pressure a little bit. The ball movement wasn’t where we needed it to be, when they adjusted and got more aggressive in the pick-and-roll, we need to move the ball.”

“It’s a game of runs and in the fourth quarter they started with one, and we tried to come back.”

“We had a couple of good shots that we just missed,” Hawks guard Malcolm Delaney added. “We slowed the ball down a little bit. We got to attack more. Just do what got us back in the game: keep attacking, keep applying pressure. We don’t have the most talent so we just got to be the toughest, most hardest playing team.”

It was definitely a rough fourth quarter, and their struggles on the offensive end definitely contributed in this game eventually slipping away, but you have to give the Hawks credit for, again, climbing a mountain, getting back into the game and giving themselves a chance to be in with a shout of winning it...

Isaiah Taylor’s strong game

Isaiah Taylor continues to impress.

Taylor scored eight points on 4-of-9 shooting on Wednesday night and he came up with a number of solid plays to help the Hawks climb the mountain — especially when it came to getting to the rim, Taylor was very good:

Talk about taking it strong to the hoop — you love to see that.

We saw some of his fourth quarter plays during the stretch where the Hawks struggled to score — even though he wasn’t hitting those shots, he was still able to get to the rim and get to those shots.

Taylor also came up with this great sequence in the third quarter: after missing a shot at the rim, he hustles back on D, comes up the steal (saving the ball being carried out of bounds by his own momentum in the process) and the Hawks go the other way — leading to a Babbitt three:

He also produced this dime to Collins near the end of the third quarter to give the Hawks their lead:

Taylor was one of a few bench players who helped the Hawks climb out of the early 17 point hole they found themselves in, and coach Bud was happy with how his bench played, including Taylor.

“I thought some guys came off the bench and really helped us tonight ... Isaiah Taylor, who is relatively new to us...”

Worth noting that Taylor also checked into the game before Malcolm Delaney but they did end up sharing the floor together — Taylor playing on-ball, Delaney off-ball. The two man lineup of Taylor and Delaney — in just under seven minutes — scored 17 points and registered a plus-4 rating in plus/minus.

Maybe the Hawks are onto something here with Taylor on-ball and Delaney off-ball, with Delaney arguably having his best half of the season before an ankle injury ruled him out of the second half...

“My whole career I played both (on-ball and off-ball) and I’ve been playing point guard here, so I’ve just been trying to be a point guard,” said Delaney postgame. “But playing off the ball, giving me a little more freedom to be aggressive, don’t think about passing it every time I get it and just play my game.”

Worth keeping an eye on, for sure.

Luke Babbitt’s best game of the season

It took eight games, but Luke Babbitt has arrived in Atlanta.

The sharpshooter played his best game of the young season on Wednesday evening — 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field and 2-of-4 from three while also ‘dropping’ Robert Covington to the floor.

(Clearly a slip but Hawks Twitter-sphere loved it anyways)

Babbitt had struggled in the early stages of this season (both for playing time and production when he did play) but last night should do his confidence good, and hopefully this can kickstart his season from here.

With Ersan Ilyasova and DeAndre’ Bembry sidelined for the foreseeable future, the Hawks could use all the production they can get, especially from their bench.

Malcolm Delaney’s injury

After scoring eight points on 3-of-3 shooting from the field in the first half, Malcolm Delaney was no where to be seen in the second half, and that’s because he was ruled out with a sprained right ankle.

“I’m alright,” said Delaney postgame. “Just a little sore. I don’t even remember how it tweaked it. I didn’t turn it or nothing. It’s just a ligament, I guess. It happens.”

It was a shame that Delaney couldn’t play in the second half — he was playing well in the first half...

No news has arrived since about Delaney’s injury or his possible status for Friday’s game against the Houston Rockets...

Tentative Kent Bazemore and Belinelli returns to earth

Kent Bazemore has been known to let the shots fly at times, but only attempted four shots on Wednesday night on his way to eight points.

You’d like Baze to be a bit more aggressive/assertive and shoot more than four times, since he is one of the better players on this roster. Encouragingly, Baze continues to get to the free throw line: another eight trips on Wednesday night, converting on five occasions.

Elsewhere, Marco Belinelli returned to earth, somewhat, as he scored eight points on 2-of-11 shooting from the field and 1-of-7 from behind the arc. I mentioned it was going to be hard for Belinelli to shoot 55% from three for long and, sure enough...

You’re going to get these games with Belinelli, it’s just who he is — just surprising he hasn’t had more games like these...

The Hawks (1-7) return home to Atlanta ahead of Friday’s home title against the Houston Rockets.