Mark Bradley blog 

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

For the Hawks, Luol Deng would be an upgrade

  • 7:48 am Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Luol Deng and Kyle Korver: Once and future teammates? (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Esteemed colleague Chris Vivlamore has identified Luol Deng, once of Chicago and lately of Cleveland, as the Atlanta Hawks’ top target, realistically speaking, in free agency. (The Hawks will try to woo LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, but neither pursuit would seem realistic.) What would landing Deng do for the local franchise?

It would give them a better No. 1 small forward than DeMarre Carroll, who shouldn’t be starting for an upper-level NBA club, and would make their first five — Al Horford, Paul Millsap, Deng, Kyle Korver and Jeff Teague — one of the league’s 10 best. Deng is [More]

Carmelo to the Heat? It’d be fascinating

  • 9:02 am Thursday, June 12th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
I tried to dislike these guys. Couldn't do it. (Lynn Sladky/AP)

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein report that the Miami Heat are preparing to pursue the free-agent-to-be Carmelo Anthony in the hope that their Big Three will become a foursome. On its face, this is astonishing news. The Heat’s biggest task of Summer 2014 figured to be keeping the Big Three intact — LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh can all opt out of their contracts. But Pat Riley, who’s the best in the business, wants to add yet another All-Star to his mix.

Somehow, the notion of Carmelo teaming with LeBron and his Super Friends isn’t off-putting in [More]

The Hawks did well, but not well enough

  • 9:35 pm Saturday, May 3rd, 2014 by Mark Bradley
The story of Game 7: Roy Hibbert stuffs Paul Millsap. (AJ Mast/AP)

INDIANAPOLIS

A heaping helping of cognitive dissonance after the Atlanta Hawks lost Game 7 to the Indiana Pacers 92-80 here Saturday.

On the one hand, this rebuilding team — a team playing without its best player to boot — did well to push the East’s No. 1 seed to brink. But the Pacers have seemed for two months a team capable of being shoved over the brink. The eighth-seeded Hawks had a chance to go up 3-1 but wasted a late lead in Game 4. They had a chance to end the series but wasted a late lead in Game 6.

Both of [More]

Update: Will George be suspended for Game 7?

  • 7:42 am Friday, May 2nd, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Paul George drives in Game 6. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

It’s clear from the video that Paul George, the Indiana Pacers’ best player, took a step and a half onto the court when teammate George Hill squared off against the Atlanta Hawks’ Mike Scott late in the second quarter of Game 6 on Thursday. At issue now is whether that step and a half, which isn’t enough to warrant a traveling violation, will disqualify George from Saturday’s Game 7.

Esteemed colleague Chris Vivlamore reports that the NBA will review the matter. A decision should come today.

UPDATE: As Vivlamore writes, the decision came. Nobody will be suspended for Game 7.

The [More]

The eighth-seeded Hawks – one step from Round 2

  • 11:55 pm Monday, April 28th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
The happy Hawks celebrate a Naptown beatdown. (Darron Cummings/AP)

INDIANAPOLIS

Three observations regarding the Atlanta Hawks, a No. 8 seed on the verge of a major upset after Monday’s 107-97 victory in a Game 5 the Hawks once led by 30 points.

1. First of all, this isn’t a major upset. The Hawks have beaten the Indiana Pacers, who’ve lost eight games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse this season, on their home floor three times in 22 days. In two of those games, the Hawks led by at least 30 points. In the other, they led by 20. They’re a terrible matchup for the Pacers, who won 56 games because they’re great [More]

For the good of the NBA, Donald Sterling must go

  • 12:33 pm Monday, April 28th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
The Clippers and their generic shirts. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

On a karmic level, the best punishment the NBA could administer to Donald Sterling would be to make him keep owning the Los Angeles Clippers for the next decade. Imagine how that would be. What player not currently under contract would agree to play for him? What coach — Doc Rivers, in Year 1 on the job, has said he’s not sure if he wants to continue– would want to work for him? How many games would they win then? And, given that Sterling is on record as preferring that African-Americans not come to his team’s games, how many sellouts [More]

The Hawks pushed; the Pacers pushed back

  • 10:38 pm Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 by Mark Bradley
OK, so Game 2 was slightly less enjoyable. (Darron Cummings/AP)

INDIANAPOLIS

Three observations in the wake of the Atlanta Hawks’ 101-85 loss to the Indiana Pacers in Game 2 of Round 1 here Tuesday.

1. The final score doesn’t reflect it, but the Hawks again had the No. 1 seed going. They led by five points after a quarter and by 11 with eight minutes left in the half. Even after Indiana sub Luis Scola scored 13 points in 11 minutes to keep his listing team close, the Hawks still led 52-48 at the break. But then this game, like Game 1, was decided in the third quarter. The Pacers’ George Hill, [More]

Can the Hawks really win this series? Yes

  • 4:43 pm Monday, April 21st, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Game 2 could be the last Pacers home date of the season. (M. Bradley)

INDIANAPOLIS

I was on the record as believing the Atlanta Hawks had a very good chance — as good a chance as a No. 8 seed ever has — before the series began. With it beginning the way it did, I like their chances even more. I think the Indiana Pacers are more apt to collapse than to cohere, but I have, as we know, been wrong.

The Pacers have spent the hours after losing Game 1 sending mixed messages. On the one hand, they don’t believe there’s anything wrong with them. On the other, they might need to try something different. [More]

The Hawks win, and the No. 1 seed is in trouble

  • 10:29 pm Saturday, April 19th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Jeff Teague scored 28 points. The Pacers were not please. (Darron Cummings/AP)

INDIANAPOLIS

Three observations from the Atlanta Hawks’ surprising-but-not-entirely-shocking Game 1 victory over the Indiana Pacers.

1. The Hawks are perfectly suited to play the Pacers. That’s what kept this 1-versus-8 series from feeling like a typical mismatch. The Hawks are very good at spreading the floor and shooting the trey. The Pacers are good at clogging the lane. Roy Hibbert made the All-Star team because he’s good at challenging shots at the rim, but he’s lousy at challenging shooters 25 feet from the goal. The Hawks again worked their formula, shooting their 3-pointers — half of their first-quarter attempts were treys — [More]

The Hawks have a real shot against Indiana

  • 11:00 am Friday, April 18th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Pero Antic, shown playing defense. (R. Brent Smith/AP)

The short answer: Yes, the Atlanta Hawks have a chance. The Indiana Pacers spent the regular season’s final weeks looking like a team in search of a place to fall down, but they reclaimed the No. 1 spot in the NBA East at the end — over Miami, which was playing badly itself — and now must face a team they don’t like facing.

The Hawks enter the playoffs with the worst record of any qualifier, but their history against the Pacers — they took them to six games last season and split four regular-season games this time, the most recent [More]