Kyle Korver made out of 8 out of 10 three-pointers as Al Horford and the Hawks pulled away from the Kings in the fourth quarter for a 124-107 victory of Wednesday night's showdown in Atlanta.
Atlanta was 15-25 from behind the three-point line and 47-81 from the field, good for 58% on the night. Korver laid on a barrage of second-half threes and Horford scored 12 points in the fourth quarter to help the Hawks distance themselves from an offensively pesky Sacramento team.
Led by Isaiah Thomas and DeMarcus Cousins, the Kings pounded the ball inside and shot 21-25 from the line. The problem for Sacramento, however, was defense. They couldn't keep up with Korver in transition or through screens and their pick-and-pop defense was abysmal, allowing Teague and others to routinely find Horford for mid-range jumpers.
The Hawks got off to a fast start, taking a double digit lead early in the first quarter. Cousins and Thomas, however, pushed the Kings back into the game and closed the gap to 28-26 by the end of the quarter. The rest of the game was a back and forth affair with both teams seeing great success on the offensive end until Atlanta pulled away in the fourth quarter, thanks to some stops and pushing the ball in transition and/or making quick decisions in the half-court.
Isaiah Thomas is worth the hype
He's tiny, shifty, and a lot of fun to watch. There's definite issues defensively, but there's no denying his offensive impact.
The streak lives... and then some
Kyle Korver was absolutely lights out tonight. Part of it was because the Kings couldn't keep up with him regardless of where he went on the floor, and the other part was that he was just feeling it. He drilled 8 out of his 10 three pointers. It helps that they were all more or less wide open, but my goodness-- when the Hawks move the ball and find Korver on the break and in rhythm like they did on Wednesday, he just isn't going to miss.
Al Horford shut the door on Sacramento
The Kings were hanging around midway through the fourth. The Sacramento deficit was see-sawing between 6 and 10 points, but Horford finally broke their back. He drilled mid-range jumper after mid-range jumper and converted on all his looks in the paint. What was impressive about the Hawks offense as a whole, Horford primarily included, is how quickly they made decisions. It helps when the other team's defense is routinely breaking down, but Atlanta was moving the ball with a crisp enthusiasm throughout the night. Finally, at the end, the Hawks strung together a few stops and it buried the Kings. Horford finished the night with 25 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 blocks.
DeMarcus Cousins is a grown man
There were several occasions when Cousins just out-musclede everyone around him and cleared a path for a rebound and a put-back. He practically murdered Elton Brand and left him for dead. He got to the line nine times, and connected on 8 of the freebies. He's a physical specimen. Regardless of his perceived and probably overblown attitude issues, you can probably see why the Sacramento franchise wants to build around him.
Closing thought: Everyone in the starting line-up made it look easy
... That's probably because it was. But Jeff Teague, despite his 6 turnovers, had 18 points and 15 assists. Kyle Korver had 28 points. Horford's ridiculous stat line is listed above. DeMarre Carroll had 15 points. DeMarre. 15 of them. And Millsap "only" had 14 points and 8 rebounds.
There was just no stopping this offense tonight. Again, it was a combination of great Hawks pace and execution and abysmal Kings defense. The bench didn't provide near as much as it did for the starters on Monday night, but it's not like they needed to with the first-five dominating like they were. Mike Scott and Shelvin Mack were the only ones who really contributed. Elton Brand served as DMC roadkill after being a game changer against Los Angeles and John Jenkins looked lost.
The Hawks are now two games above .500 at 14-12.