Hawks Fall In Coach Bud’s Return To San Antonio

Monday, December 2, 2013
By Robby Kalland

Atlanta Hawks v San Antonio Spurs

The Hawks stayed close throughout and had as much as an eight point lead in the third quarter, but the Spurs proved too much down the stretch on their way to a 102-100 victory. Tim Duncan turned back the clock and put up 23 points and 21 rebounds (six offensive) in his first 20-20 game since the 2011-12 season. Per Elias Sports, Duncan became the oldest player to achieve a 20-20 game at 37 years and 221 days old. Boris Diaw had a big night for the Spurs off the bench, adding 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting.

Hawks vs. Spurs
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Game Recap

The Spurs closed the third quarter on a 10-0 run to erase an eight-point Hawks lead and take a 73-71 lead into the fourth. They continued that run and took an eight point lead of their own at 84-76 with just over eight minutes remaining. The Hawks were down by as many as seven points with under three minutes to play, but fought back valiantly, though to no avail. The Hawks made a late run of their own, and a pair of clutch threes, first a step-back three from Paul Millsap, and then a Jeff Teague three-pointer with 4.7 seconds to go, tied the game at 100.

San Antonio advanced the ball up the court and threw the ball in to Manu Ginobili at the top of the key. Marco Belinelli came down from inbounding the ball to set a pin-down screen for Duncan, who was able to catch, turn, and shoot over the late-closing DeMarre Carroll to bury the game-winning jumper with 0.4 seconds left. Millsap’s last gasp effort was never on target, and the Hawks fell to 9-10 on the season.

The Hawks were content to settle for jump shots for most of the game, getting only 36.5% (36-of-95) of their shot attempts within eight feet of the rim, compared to a season average of 41.5% within eight feet. This led to a 17-5 free throw disparity in favor of the Spurs, who made 12 of them, while the Hawks made all five of their attempts.

Along with the free throw disparity, the Hawks were dominated on the glass. The Spurs out-rebounded the Hawks 48-39 (9-10 offensive), and San Antonio converted those offensive boards into a 16-11 second-chance point advantage.

Teague had 19 points and seven assists to lead the Hawks in scoring and seemed to shake off his early season three-point shooting issues to go 3-for-4 from downtown including the aforementioned game-tying three. Teague shot 46.2% for the game, but still is not finishing at the rim as we are accustomed to seeing, going 1-for-4 inside eight feet in this game.

Millsap added a double-double with 15 points and 14 rebounds, but took 20 shots (6-for-20) to get his 15 points. Millsap was frustrated by Duncan and Splitter’s length inside and never found his rhythm from the mid-range. Despite those issues, he was able to drill two big three-pointers that helped the Hawks fourth quarter comeback.

Carroll scored the Hawks’ first seven points and finished the game with 17 points and eight rebounds on 63.6% shooting (60% from three) in one of his best offensive games of the season.

Al Horford was also effective offensively, shooting 56.3% from the field for 18 points along with seven rebounds. Horford battled Duncan much of the night at both ends of the floor, and Duncan just out-played him on the offensive end, going 10-for-15 from the field and showed off his bevy of post-moves to keep Horford off balance. Horford has been a terrific defensive presence all season, but he was out-classed on this night.

The Hawks can take away plenty of positives from this game, mainly their ability to not only keep it within reach in the fourth quarter but to complete a comeback and get the game tied, despite the Duncan buzzer-beater. The Hawks offense looked very crisp when the main starting four (Horford/Teague/Millsap/Carroll) were on the floor with either Lou Williams (who got the start tonight) or Shelvin Mack were in the game. The Hawks bench unit still leaves something to be desired when they are on the floor together, especially on the defensive end where they can get lost in rotations.

The Hawks will come back home and have a day off before Chris Paul and the Clippers come to Atlanta for a match-up on Wednesday night. Kyle Korver is reportedly “close” to returning according to Coach Bud from his rib injury, and he will be re-evaluated prior to Wednesday’s game. Korver’s three-point streak is still sitting at 88, one game behind Dana Barros’ all-time record.

Tweet of the Night

D. Clarke Evans/NBAE/Getty Images

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