16. The Atlanta Hawks have won 16 games in a row. I’m not sure when this will (inevitably) end, but it’s been honestly incredible.
Paul Millsap led the way in the 112-100 victory over the Timberwolves tonight with 20 points in a game that the Hawks controlled from start to finish. Al Horford added 19 on 8/9 shooting in another spectacular effort that saw six Hawks finish with double-digit points.
Next game: vs. Brooklyn Nets. January 28, 8pm. ESPN.
Anyways, onto today’s number. We’re stretching a little bit here, since Hagan never actually played in Atlanta (he retired in 1966, just two years before the Hawks would leave St. Louis), but he’s a remarkably important player in franchise history.
We’ll gloss over the truly unique college career Hagan enjoyed at Kentucky — unfortunately the best link is from Wikipedia, but check it out anyways — and start with the 1956 NBA Draft. The Hawks held the second pick in that draft — which would become Bill Russell — and famously traded it to the Boston Celtics for Hagan (who was serving in the military at the time) and Ed Macauley.
Losing the rights to Russell — an eventual 11-time NBA champion and one of the greatest players in league history — is hard to defend in retrospect, but Hagan had a Hall of Fame career in his own right for the Hawks. His second season in 1958 produced the only championship in franchise history.
Perhaps most importantly, Hagan is remembered for being one of the only Hawks’ white stars at the time to welcome African-American teammates. Lenny Wilkens in particular remembered Hagan as a teammate who helped him adjust to life in St. Louis.
With a huge win against the Thunder, the Hawks now have a franchise-best 15 wins in a row. With a mostly soft schedule upcoming, it’s hard to keep from wondering just how much longer this will go on. Ideally, the Hawks will set an NBA record and extend the streak to 37, a number that no player in Atlanta history has ever worn.
Elton Brand is going to have to pay up on this one.
Always nice to beat the Pacers. Even better when we can get a Korver dunk out of the deal too. This win — the 14th in a row — matches the franchise record for a win streak
Charlie Criss made three different stops in Atlanta throughout his NBA career. The guard stood 5’8 and, interestingly, was signed from the Washington Generals (Yes, those Washington Generals) onto the Atlanta roster in 1977.
This is the first time Kyle Korver has dunked in a game since 2012, so let’s go nuts.
Update: This gets even better
This is what happens when you hire the creator of “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne” to be your CEO, I suppose. The Hawks are the coolest team in the NBA right now, and that’s just such an unbelievably weird sentence to type out.
So, somehow everyone missed this during the game, but Seattle Seahawks punter Jon Ryan did “The Belt” right in Mike McCarthy’s grill after throwing a touchdown pass in the NFC Championship.
Every defensive lineman who has sacked Aaron Rodgers in the last four years has done the same stupid dance — some less successfully than others — but Ryan’s celebration had a purpose to it. He was cut in 2008 by McCarthy and the Packers, and told USA Today that he’s been dreaming of a moment like this ever since his release.
As a former kicker/punter, this site will remain dedicated to covering all of the tremendous athletic accomplishments of kickers and punters from this day forward. Thanks, Jon Ryan, and welcome to your rightful honor owning a Great Moment in Specialist History.
It may have been the worst game the Hawks have played all season this afternoon, and they still won by 11 to stretch the win streak to 13. This team, man.
Also, HOLY CRAP LOOK AT HOW SKINNY BORIS DIAW WAS.
The Hawks took their 12th victory in a row tonight with a road win (on the second night of a back-to-back, no less) in Chicago. Kyle Korver finished with 24 points, but the important number for our purposes is half of that.
Speedy Claxton — who apparently was born “Craig”, so good decision on going with the nickname — spent three season in Atlanta, though he played in just 44 games. Injuries kept the guard off the court for much of his 4 year, $25 million contract and he would never see the floor for another team in his NBA career. The Hawks traded Claxton to the Warriors (his third stint in Golden State) in 2009, but he was waived and subsequently retired.
Huge win for the Hawks in Toronto tonight. It was a performance that would have made 2010 NBA Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford proud.