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Malcolm Delaney returns to rotation against Blazers

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NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Malcolm Delaney was back in the Atlanta Hawks rotation Saturday night after a five-game absence. Delaney finished with eight points, two rebounds and two assists in 26 minutes against the Trail Blazers and Mike Budenholzer told reporters after the game that while his defense wasn’t the reason for the move, they thought it would help against Portland’s Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum.

“I liked Malcolm. We’ve talked about his defense all year. It wasn’t the reason we did it but when you have McCollum and Lillard those are two of the toughest covers in the league,” Budenholzer said. “

“Jose has been good. I think Jose played five games total. I think we want to keep both of those guys alive. We feel like they both can help us. I thought Malcolm’s defense was good. He competes on that end and made a few shots.”

Delaney had played just two garbage time minutes over the last five games while the team got a look at Calderon. Delaney is averaging just 5.5 points and 2.6 assists this season while shooting 38 percent from the field overall but some of the advanced numbers show that the Hawks have been better with him on the floor.

Calderon hasn’t had a lot of time to get completely comfortable with the Hawks and his shooting could be an asset as the team heads to the postseason. Budenholzer’s comments seem to indicate that the Hawks will continue to approach the backup point guard situation from a matchup standpoint and that might not be such a bad idea.