ATLANTA — With Al Horford out for the season, the Hawks have played some inspired basketball. That includes Friday night when they played the Warriors, but it wasn’t enough to come out with the win.
Give credit to the Hawks, though, as they came out hot. Their first three shots were three-pointers, including a bomb from Pero Antic–who was making his first career start. The Warriors were matching their efforts, and this looked like it was going to be a shootout. Well, things got ugly from there, and you could tell that the Hawks were missing Horford. Atlanta turned the ball over nine times in the first quarter, but somehow were down by only two after the first period.
The game would stay about the same in the second, and the score was tied at 46 going into the break. Paul Millsap couldn’t keep his great play up, and he was just 1 of 6 after two quarters. They were doing a great job defensively, and Stephen Curry had only eight points.
The Hawks were up double digits heading into the fourth quarter, but that’s when the wheels fell off. In the final minutes, the Hawks couldn’t get a basket–or a call–to save their lives, and the Warriors exploded. They cut it to one with over two minutes left, and they could have used Al Horford in that moment. The Hawks then traded buckets with the Warriors, and they were leading by two with just over three seconds left. The Warriors had the ball coming out of a timeout, and this happened:
The Hawks doubled Curry around half court, and he got it to Iguodala, and the rest is history. The Warriors won 101-100, and the Hawks were just deflated. “We wanted to stay connected with everybody, ” head coach Mike Budenholzer said after the game,” We thought they would go to one of their shooters We defended the initial action pretty well. Stephen Curry demands a lot of attention. We got the ball out of his hands and they made a tough shot.”
The Hawks are now 18-15 on the season, and this was a tough loss. They can hang their hats on the fact that they controlled the game against a Western Conference contender, and that they got some nice contributions from their players. The bench had an impressive 41 points, including 15 from Shelvin Mack. Pero Antic had 16 points and 7 rebounds in his first start, and Budenholzer says he will start tomorrow against the Bulls. Jeff Teague had 14 points and 7 assists, and Paul Millsap had 12 points and 11 rebounds, but shot just 3 of 14 from the field.
Jeff Teague did not take the loss well:
Jeff Teague: “It’s one of the worst losses of my career." #ATLHawks
— Chris Vivlamore (@ajchawks) January 4, 2014
The Hawks will be back at it tomorrow on the road against the Bulls.