Hot-Shooting Hawks Beat Kings

Wednesday, December 18, 2013
By Robby Kalland

Sacramento Kings v Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks (14-12) shot 58% (47-of-81) from the field and 60% (15-of-25) from three-point range in a 124-107 victory over the Kings (7-17) for their second straight win. The Hawks set a number of season records tonight on the offensive end with the most points (124) and assists (38; the most for the Hawks ever at Philips Arena) as a team this season. Jeff Teague tied a career-high with 15 assists and Kyle Korver had a season-high 28 points and tied a career-high with eight made three-pointers.

Hawks vs. Kings
Photo Gallery
Game Recap
Teague’s 15 Assists
Korver’s 8 Threes

The game was much closer for three quarters then the final score indicates as the teams traded the lead 22 times, and the Hawks were down heading into the third and fourth quarters. Atlanta dominated the fourth quarter, out-scoring the Kings 39-20 in the final period and shot 70% from the field.

The Kings put up a fight after falling behind by 14 in the first quarter, and battled back to just two down heading into the second. The Kings got a big night from [relatively] newly acquired Rudy Gay, who had 22 points, three assists, and three steals on an efficient 8-of-13 shooting night. Isaiah Thomas was very active in the first three quarters, and finished the game with 20 points and 10 assists. DeMarcus Cousins‘ size gave the Hawks some problems early and he led the Kings in scoring with 28 points along with seven rebounds and six assists.

While those three played great, the Hawks were able to clamp down on them in the fourth quarter, and hold those three to 10 points, two rebounds, and three assists combined with only four field goal attempts before head coach Mike Malone pulled them towards the end. Coach Budenholzer’s message heading into the fourth quarter was to get stops, and the Hawks’ responded by forcing four turnovers and holding the Kings to 20 points on 38.9% shooting.

“The message was, we were going to have to get stops,” Bud said. “They had [33 points] in the third quarter and I think we had 32, but the basic message was we aren’t going to win giving them 30 points and we not going to just trade baskets. We’re going to have a good defensive quarter, and we’re going to have to hold them to 20 or 22 or something like that to win the game. It was really about our defense coming out of the quarter.”

“I think it was our defense,” Horford said. “Coach, going into the fourth, he challenged us to be better defensively, and it all started with that initial group in there, and we responded.”

“We got some stops,” Teague said. “It was a back-and-forth game. Everybody was scoring. We couldn’t stop each other. Luckily we got some stops in the fourth. We started running the high pick-and-roll. Al was making some shots. Mike was knocking down corner threes. Kyle was making threes all over the place…I was just getting the ball to the guys who needed the ball. Al, pick-and-pop is his shot, Kyle for threes, DeMarre slashing.”

Teague’s aggression helped set the tone for the Hawks’ offense all night, and he got the Hawks going in the fourth quarter with four assists (and two points and three rebounds) in just over five minutes. Matched up with Thomas, Teague was aggressive early and often on his way to 18 points, 15 rebounds, and eight assists on 6-of-11 shooting (1-of-2 from three).

“I think there’s a lot of respect from us, and the whole league, for Thomas as a good young point guard that’s emerging,” Bud said. “I think Jeff took the challenge and really put the offense in his hands and he made a lot off good decisions and a lot of good plays. Defensively, we wanted to make it difficult on Thomas, and I think there were times where Jeff was good defensively.”

While Teague was facilitating, Korver, Horford, and the rest of the Hawks were the beneficiaries. Those two combined for 23 points on 10-of-11 shooting from the field in the fourth quarter, out-scoring the Kings by themselves.

Korver had a season-high 28 points, with four assists and two rebounds, on 10-0f-15 shooting and 8-of-10 shooting from three-point range. His NBA record three-point streak now stands at 95 games, and he spoke about the looks he got against the Kings.

“I got a lot of really good looks tonight. I don’t usually get that many. that was a product of a lot of our spacing and just everyone knocking down shots. I’ve gotten a lot of good looks the last few games. I haven’t shot the ball as well as I would’ve liked, so it was nice to have a better game tonight.”

Horford finished the game with a strong double-double, with 25 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, and four blocks. Horford spent much of his night matched up with Cousins, and was able to tighten up on the defensive end in the fourth, while still lighting it up from the field (6-of-6 shooting).

“It was about as good as it gets,” said Horford about his performance. “More importantly we got the win, but, yeah. We needed this win so we can start getting some momentum.”

All five of the Hawks’ starters, plus Mike Scott (10 points, three assists, two rebounds), finished in double-figures for the second straight game. DeMarre Carroll (15 points, three boards, and three steals) and Paul Millsap (14 points, eight boards, and four assists) were strong in their roles tonight, making plays at both ends of the floor.

After a terrific win and second half against the Lakers, the Hawks followed it up with an even better late game performance tonight, breaking the team points, assists, and second half point records that they had set just two days prior. The ball movement was tremendous, with everyone getting touches, and Korver explained where that comes from.

“That’s a product of a lot of things. It’s unselfishness. It’s good spacing. It’s a lot of guys in rhythm. It’s everyone being dangerous. It’s no one’s sure [on defense] knowing where the help should come from. It’s a product of Jeff putting pressure on them. When Jeff’s attacking like that and going to the basket, it just opens up a lot of opportunities for us.”

The Hawks will look to carry this two game winning streak and great ball movement and overall offensive play to Friday night when the Jazz come to town.

Tweet of the Night

Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images

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