Iguodala Drills Buzzer-Beater to Beat Hawks

Friday, January 3, 2014
By Robby Kalland

Indiana Pacers v Atlanta Hawks

In a sloppy game that featured 41 combined turnovers, the Warriors (22-13) made a late push in the fourth quarter to overcome a 15-point deficit and win 101-100 over the Hawks (18-15). Andre Iguodala drilled a three-pointer as time expired to give the Warriors the win. He had only seven points in the game, but all seven came in the fourth quarter including the dagger.

Hawks vs. Warriors
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Game Recap

On the final play with 3.2 seconds left and the Hawks up 100-98, Iguodala was inbounding the ball with Pero Antic defending the pass. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were the primary options on the play, with Thompson going to the near-side corner and Curry coming towards Iguodala from the top of the key. Shelvin Mack, who defended Curry well all night, forced Curry to catch the ball near the sideline about 35 feet from the basket. Antic decided to double Curry in an effort to trap him, but left too much room on the sideline for Curry to step and slip a pass to Iguodala, who let game-winner fly right before the buzzer.

“We wanted to stay connected with everybody,” Coach Bud said. “We thought they would go to one of their shooters. We defended the initial action pretty well. Steph Curry demands a lot of attention. We got the ball out of his hands and then they made a tough shots. It’s a credit to Iguodala, a credit to Curry to make the pass. Two good players made a good play.”

“In the end I make some mistakes, and we lost the game and I feel bad,” Antic said. “No [the plan was not to double on Curry]. It was my decision. I saw that he could come out and shoot it in the last seconds, but I did not expect [him to pass to the inbounder].”

“No, that wasn’t the plan [to trap Curry],” Mack said. “In the heat of the game, you know, a great shooter, I guess he thought at that time that coming out was the right play. Sometimes, it comes back to hurt you.

Stephen Curry had eight points entering the fourth quarter, but came alive in the fourth with 14 points to finish with 22 points, nine assists, and eight rebounds, but he also had nine turnovers. Mack and Jeff Teague defended Curry well for most of the game, and Mack did an excellent job on him in the second half, but down the stretch Curry started to make tough shots and got his teammates going around him.

“He was able to get his teammates involved,” Mack said. “That’s what great players do. They’re not just good, they make the players around them better.”

Klay Thompson, started the game hot with 11 points in the first quarter and finished with 21 points, six assists, and five rebounds. David Lee was the Warriors’ leading scorer with 23 points and added eight rebounds. No other Warriors player had more than nine points (Harrison Barnes), but were still able to get just enough for the win.

For the Hawks, the loss was extremely deflating. With a chance to beat one of the NBA’s best teams, they were unable to close the deal despite holding a 15 point lead with six minutes to play. Antic and Mack were the Hawks’ two most effective offensive players, combining for 31 points — Antic had a career-high 16 points — on an extremely efficient 12-of-17 shooting. For Mack, pace was the key to his night, while Antic was able to space the floor and knock down open looks, especially from three where he was 4-of-6.

“I just played hard. Had to try and run in transition, we know those guys had a tough game last night in Miami, so try to get out and run and I was able to do that in transition.”

“[My teammates] were just feeding me,” said Antic. “[The Warriors] just sagged from me, the point guards found me and I shot the ball well.”

The Hawks had six players score in double-figures and DeMarre Carroll and Mike Scott added 12 points on over 50 percent shooting, but the Hawks’ top four scorers, Paul MillsapJeff Teague, Kyle Korver, and Lou Williams were unable to get themselves going. Those four combined for 40 points, but it took 39 shots to get those 40 points. In the final 6:48 of the game — when they took a 15 point lead — the Hawks were 1-of-9 shooting with two turnovers. The Hawks got away from what had been successful, and instead started playing against the clock rather than running their sets.

“I think our execution wasn’t where it needed to be offensively,” Coach Bud said. “We had a couple of good looks that didn’t go in. Their defense forced some turnovers and there were some difficult situations that resulted in turnovers. It all just kind of came together where we couldn’t hold the lead.”

“I think a lot of it came to us passing up open shots,” Mack said. “We were really hesitant to take those. They’re a great team, they know how to play hard and they figured out stuff to get things done.”

The Hawks defense, which was so strong for most of the night, started to bend in the fourth quarter, allowing the Warriors to score 37 points in the final period.

“I thought our guys competed tonight, in particular coming out to start the second half and a lot of the second half,” Bud said. “The effort and defense was something we could really build on. I think giving up 37 points in the fourth quarter, first, you have to give them credit, they hit some tough shots. We had some turnovers that led to some baskets and that’s where we need to improve — our execution. Taking care of the ball and finishing the game with a defensive effort in the fourth quarter when we need to get stops.”

As Bud said, the Hawks can take some positives away from this game. They held one of the best offenses in the NBA to 44.8% shooting and just 22.2% shooting from the three-point line. The Hawks forced 21 turnovers and turned those into 22 points. However, this loss definitely stings, and the Hawks can look at poor offensive execution down the stretch, as well as a few defensive lapses — along with the Warriors making some tough shots — as the main reasons why they are now 18-15 instead of 19-14.

Atlanta will have to shrug this loss off quickly as they head immediately to icy Chicago for a tilt with the Bulls Saturday night.

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Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images

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