Jeff Teague Lifts Hawks to Double OT Win over Cavs

Thursday, December 26, 2013
By Robby Kalland

Atlanta Hawks v Cleveland Cavaliers

Jeff Teague pull-up jumper from 20 feet took four bounces off the rim before dropping through the net as the final buzzer sounded to give the Hawks (16-13) a 127-125 victory in double-overtime over the Cavaliers (10-18). Teague set a career-high with 34 points and added 14 assists, three rebounds, and three steals in just under 49 minutes of play. Teague went toe-to-toe in a tremendous point guard battle with Kyrie Irving who led all scorers with 40 points and dished out nine assists and had four steals.

Hawks vs. Cavaliers
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Teague’s Winner
Highlights

The two point guards stole the show, particularly in the two overtime periods, as Irving had 16 points and three assists and Teague had 12 points and two assists in the overtime periods. The two teams combined for 62 points in the two five minute overtimes, and the Hawks got big contributions from not only Teague, but also from Kyle Korver and Paul Millsap.

Millsap carried the Hawks through the first overtime, with eight of his 20 overall points and four of his 11 total rebounds, as he asserted himself after Al Horford (25 points, eight rebounds, four assists) left the game late in the fourth quarter with a right shoulder injury that he did not return from (we are still awaiting further news on Horford’s status). Millsap attacked the paint and made some difficult shots through contact for those eight points, keeping the Hawks close to the Cavs.

Korver extended his three-point streak to 98 games and had seven of his 20 total points in the second overtime  with a pair of huge three-pointers with the Hawks down five on each occasion. On the second three he was fouled and converted the and-one for a rare four-point play. Pero Antic added a huge three-pointer in the second overtime, and he continued to excel in his role as the Hawks’ designated inbounder in late-game situations.

The Hawks had a number of players step up, particularly after Horford (right shoulder) and DeMarre Carroll (right thumb) left the game with injuries, but in the end it was all about Jeff Teague. With 4.9 seconds to play in the first overtime, the Hawks had the ball down 108-105 and advanced the ball to the frontcourt.

The Hawks ran a beautiful play, faking a stacked screen for Korver, and instead have Teague flare out just to the right of the top of the key, where he drilled a wide open 30-footer, his only three-point make of the night, to tie the game. All of the Cavs had their eyes on Korver, and over pursued him off the screen allowing Teague to slip away unmarked. Teague then forced a turnover by Irving on the ensuing Cavs possession, and had an opportunity for the game-winner on a baseline jumper that rimmed out as time expired in the first overtime.

In the second overtime, Irving was dominant and scored five points in the first thirty seconds to give the Cavs the early advantage, and finished with 12 points in the second overtime. Teague answered with seven points, and none bigger than the pull-up on the final possession. After a loose ball bounced off of Irving with just over 19 seconds to play, the Hawks brought the ball in and had Teague dribble the clock down. Teague started to drive on the left wing before pulling up from 20 feet with just under a second to play. The shot seemed to bounce on the rim for ages, but eventually slipped through the hoop to give the Hawks the win. 

The stat-lines show how tight the game was, as the Hawks shot 49.5% from the field and 32.4% from the three-point line while the Cavs shot 52.1% from the field and 38.1% from the field, but the Hawks took nine more total shots and 13 more three-pointers (making three more than Cleveland). There was a negligible difference in rebounds (45-42 Cavs), turnovers (21-24 Hawks), and points off turnovers (25-22 Cavs).

The main concern for the Hawks now is the health of two of their starters. According to Bob Rathbun on the Fox Sports South broadcast, head trainer Wally Blase informed them that Horford’s right shoulder injury was sustained after taking an elbow from Anderson Varejao. Carroll’s injury happened earlier in the fourth quarter when he collided with Tyler Zeller awkwardly on a screen and sprained his right thumb. The severity of both injuries, in terms of how long the two will be out, is unknown at this time, but it will definitely be on the minds of the team and all Hawks’ fans from now until news drops.

The Hawks will be back in action on Saturday night when the Bobcats come into Atlanta.

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Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE/Getty Images

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