Shoot, remember a few days ago when Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak was talking about shaking up his roster?. That was after the Lakers took a 16-point home loss . . . to the Celtics:
“I try to be as objective as possible, but I’m concerned that our performance is not living up to our talent level,” Kupchak said at the time. “Our record is certainly OK. But we’ve lost a bunch of home games. We’ve lost a couple of big games at home. And to me, those are red flags.”
The red flags are waving for the Hawks after yet another white-flag surrender at Philips. Elias Sports Bureau provides the dirty details (second item, though let the “crowning achievement” in the lead headline serve as a bitterly sarcastic taunt of the Hawks):
There have been three games this season in which the home team lost by at least 30 points, and the Atlanta Hawks have been on the short end of the scoreboard in two of those games.
The Hawks’ 34-point loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday (117-83) is the second-worst home defeat in the NBA this season, trailing only the 41-point defeat Atlanta had against the New Orleans Hornets on Jan. 21 (100-59). The only other team to lose a home game by at least 30 points this season is the Charlotte Bobcats, 93-62 to the Boston Celtics on Dec. 11. . . .
At 33-19, Atlanta has the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference. Should the Hawks finish the season at least 10 games above .500, the Elias Sports Bureau says they would join one other such team in NBA history to lose two home games by at least 30 points. The 1969-70 Baltimore Bullets had 30-point home losses to the Suns and Knicks, yet finished the season 50-32.
Remember, too, there could be another couple historically ugly Ls for the Hawks if not for circumstance and NBA decorum.
The Bucks called off the dogs after they took a 29-point lead into the fourth quarter. They were up by 26 with 7:51 to play when a JC2-led run in garbage time prevented another possible 30-point L. Instead, the final losing margin was a normal-looking 108-91.
The Celtics were up 85-56 near the end of the third quarter when KG and Co. took a seat. Boston led by 31 with 4:31 to play (97-66) and by 29 with 3:31 to go (99-70). Twin and Josh Powell scored for the Hawks and the Celtics failed to score on their last eight possessions. So Atlanta fell 99-76, still ugly but not outrageously so.
As it stands, the Hawks have four double-digit losses at home, all by at least 17 points. The three teams above them in the standings have just two such losses combined among their 13 home Ls: Miami’s 93-77 defeat to Indiana and Chicago’s 107-78 loss to Orlando. And those games were back on Nov. 22 and Dec. 1, respectively, while two of the Hawks’ shellackings have come in the last 18 days. Even Orlando, which has its own issues at home, has just two double-digit Ls there: 104-94 vs. Utah on Nov. 10 and 123-101 to San Antonio on Dec. 23.
So the next time the Hawks say something along the lines of “These things happen” (and we know they will), the retort should be: “No, they don’t. Not to ‘good’ teams.”
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat