On Monday night the Atlanta Hawks had one of the worst offensive performances in basketball’s modern era. In a loss to the Chicago Bulls, the Hawks scored just 58 points in a 39-point loss. How bad was it? At one point the Bulls led by 44 points.
In fact, only a layup by Jeff Teague with 7.9 seconds left in the game prevented Atlanta from besting its franchise-low in points for a game. The team has now lost five straight road games and six of its past seven overall.
The Hawks were absolutely putrid in the second quarter, scoring just five points, which led to a 48-20 deficit at the half. Ivan Johnson scored a basket with 2:54 left in the first quarter and Atlanta didn’t score again until Al Horford had a tip-in with 5:15 remaining in the half. During that stretch, the Hawks missed 17 consecutive shots and were outscored 14-0.
In that disaster of a quarter, Atlanta hit 2-of-21 shots from the field. Other than Horford’s tip-in, Josh Smith hit a free throw and a jumper in the quarter. That was it.
Atlanta head coach Larry Drew had the following to say about his team’s performance on the night:
“This was very, very embarrassing. From where we were as a team to where we are right now, we have lost all sense of team on both ends of the floor. And why that’s happened I can’t really put my finger on it.”
It was the Hawks’ worst offensive showing since they were the Milwaukee Hawks, and scored just 57 points against the Boston Celtics on February 27, 1955. Interestingly that game was played in Providence, Rhode Island, and Bob Cousy led the Celtics to the win with 14 points, while Bob Pettit was held to 12 points for the Hawks.
To give you an idea of how different the NBA was back then, there were only eight teams in the NBA, the Hawks finished 26-46 (dead last in the league), the Pistons played in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the Lakers were still in Minneapolis and the Rochester Royals reached the postseason. The Syracuse Nationals beat the Pistons in seven games to take home the NBA title.
Oh, and Hall of Fame coach Red Holzman was just 34 years old and in his second and final season as the Hawks’ head coach (it was his first coaching gig). For those who don’t know, Holzman went on to coach the New York Knicks from 1967-82, winning 613 games with the franchise and two NBA titles.
So yeah, the Atlanta Hawks were almost as bad offensively as their worst game in franchise history on Monday night. And that performance has stood up for almost 58 years.