It took career nights from stars Jeff Teague and Paul Millsap, but the Hawks were able to persevere 118-113 in an overtime battle against the Toronto Raptors Tuesday night in Atlanta.
Teague matched a career-high with 34 points while Paul Millsap notched the first triple-double of his career to help Atlanta extend their season-high winning streak to five straight games. Teague added five assists and four steals to go along with his scoring production, which included going a perfect 11-for-11 from the charity stripe.
Millsap powered his way to 19 points, every one of them earned, to go along with 13 rebounds and 10 assists.
“We’re not going to make any excuses,” Millsap said. “We’ve just got to push forward and try to win some games.”
Kyle Korver chipped in with 16 points.
The win puts the Hawks right back in the mix of things in the Eastern Conference playoff race. They currently hold the 8th seed but are just 1.0 game behind seventh-place Charlotte. They have a comfortable 4.5 game cushion over the New York Knicks, who just introduced Phil Jackson as their new President of Basketball Operations today and are trying to make a late push with six wins in a row.
The loss doesn’t hurt Toronto’s playoff position much, as they still hold the 3rd seed. Although a string of losses going forward could really shake things up as fourth-place Chicago trails by a 1/2 game with Brooklyn and Washington also hot on the trail 1.5 games behind in 5th and 6th place, respectively. Charlotte is five games behind and Atlanta is six games behind.
DeMar Derozan and Kyle Lowry were each impressive in the losing effort. DeRozan scored 29 points, grabbed ten rebounds and dished out six assists, while Lowry flirted with a triple-double (as he so often does), finishing with 20 points, seven boards and nine assists.
In overtime, the Raptors couldn’t get the wheels going and let a winnable game slip away.
“A lot of things didn’t go our way,” DeRozan said, “but we shouldn’t have put ourselves in that situation to start with.”
DeRozan is no doubt referring to the team going scoreless for more than three and a half minutes in the extra session, which is what ultimately allowed the Hawks to hold on for the win. Atlanta went ahead for good on Millsap’s 10th assist with 2:23 left to go in overtime, which gave him the triple-double.
It was a back and forth game all night and had a playoff-like atmosphere. The teams were locked into a 49-49 tie at halftime and from that point on, neither team fell behind by more than four points, and ten lead changes took place in the final quarter.
No doubt a hard-fought, quality win for the Hawks. They’ll look to extend their winning streak to six games when they go against the Pelicans on Saturday in Atlanta.
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