November 22, 2014
Washington Americans (7-1) @ Atlanta Eagles (4-6)
We're in fourth in the division, half a game out of last place, and we get the chance to host the top team in the Division for an early-season challenge. This is the kind of game you have to win early in the year if you want to build momentum. We've won all our home games thus far, but our losing record has fans on the fence about spending money to see us live when they can watch from home. We need to play well and encourage them that's not the way.
Especially with five of our next nine games here at home.
It is KILLING us not to have Horford ready and able, and Washington controled the pace and tenor of this game from the start, leading 11-18 with 2:46 to go in the first quarter. We never got control of things the remainder of the half, going into the break trailing 38-49.
We trailed by 16 early in the third quarter, but with 5:07 remaining in that period we pulled within eight thanks to a three by Korver, down 52-60. We inched our way back in, and with 10:36 to play in the game we took a 67-66 lead on a Ray Allen three! But we could not maintain the momentum, as Washington rallied to go up 71-81 with just seven minutes remaining. By that point, with Horford struggling to stay on the floor for even a few minutes, we just didn't have any good options for high-powered scoring. We fought hard, keeping the loss within single digits but losing nonetheless 88-97.
ATL Player of the Game: Jeff Teague (18 pts 1 reb 7 ast 1 stl 1 blk)
ATL Honorable Mentions: Tim Duncan (13 pts 13 reb 1 stl 1 blk); Andre Blatche (10 pts 4 reb 2 ast 1 stl)
Made another big trade, to get former Indiana player Cody Zeller from Charlotte, in exchange for Pero Antic and our first round pick for next year (we still have the first rounder from San Antonio). Zeller will get immediate starting minutes, and should be able to fit in the lineup as a big contributor. Antic was never going anywhere with us, and we need young guys who can score and defend. Anyone who has seen him play in the past knows his explosive athleticism. And though he's yet to show it in the pros, I think he's capable of being just as good in the NBA as he was in college. He just needs the right push.
PG - Jeff Teague (6'2” 180 lbs) 3.0/3.0
SG - Kyle Korver (6'7” 212 lbs) 2.5/2.5
SF - DeMarre Carroll (6'8” 225 lbs) 2.5/2.5
PF - Tim Duncan (6'11” 260 lbs) 4.0/4.0
C - Al Horford (6'10” 245 lbs) 4.5/4.5
6 - Cody Zeller (7'0” 230 lbs) 2.5/2.5
7 - Jarrett Jack (6'3” 197 lbs) 2.0/2.0
8 - Ray Allen (6'5” 205 lbs) 2.0/2.0
9 - Thabo Sefolosha (6'7” 215 lbs) 2.0/2.0
10 - Elton Brand (6'9” 254 lbs) 1.5/1.5
11 - Shelvin Mack (6'2” 205 lbs) 1.5/1.5
12 - Kent Bazemore (6'5” 195 lbs) 1.5/2.0
13 - Mike Muscala (6'11” 230 lbs) 1.5/1.5
14 - Adreian Payne (6'10” 245 lbs) 1.0/1.5
15 - John Jenkins (6'4” 212 lbs) 1.0/1.0
Zeller will start at center in place of Horford until he is ready for full-time minutes again, at which point he should perform well as a solid swing-man at PF / C from the sixth spot.