Down and out over losing their All-Star center the Atlanta Hawks found a way to pull another game out of the fire coming back from 14 points down to defeat the Charlotte Bobcats in overtime. The Hawks were outplayed for much of the night but once again showed the ability to fight all the way to the end.
"I'm just proud of our guys, said head coach Mike Budenholzer. Our guys found a way to win a game tonight. We didn't really play that well. I'm not sure either team really brought their 'A' game. I'm not sure how much fuel was in either team's tank, with them playing last night. We feel fortunate but we're also proud of the effort. They continued to compete, continued to stay with it. Like I said, our guys found a way to win a game tonight."
Coach Budenholzer has been preaching about that competitive spirit ever since he was named as head coach of the Hawks this summer. Without Al Horford, for the first time since he was lost with a torn pectoral muscle, they had to collect themselves and pull it out at the end.
Teammates react to Antic's amazing shot
The Atlanta Hawks found themselves down three against the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday night with just over 11 seconds remaining when a broken play resulted in a wild running three-pointer by Pero Antic.
"It's going to take some time to learn how to play without Al. We have to get everybody comfortable, to keep the ball moving, to know where the spots are."
The Hawks used three bigs in wake of Horford's injury. Elton Brand got the start playing 19 minutes and finishing with three points and four rebounds. Pero Antic played just over 22 minutes and finished with three points, four boards and seven assists. Antic's running three-pointer from the corner tied the game with just three seconds remaining and eventually sent it to overtime. Gustavo Ayon played just over four minutes in the first half but went scoreless with two rebounds.
The Hawks through everything they had at Charlotte's Al Jefferson who had a monster game with 24 points and 23 rebounds. Charlotte outrebounded the Hawks 55-52 and the majority of that came from Jefferson.
"It's a career type night for him, said Bobcats coach Steve Clifford. He's still not 100 percent, but he's playing better."
Paul Millsap was equally big for the Hawks as he went head-to-head with his former Utah teammate for many stretches throughout the game. Millsap went 10-18 from the floor and 12-14 from the free throw line to finish with a game-high 33 and 13 rebounds.
Lou Williams came up big in the overtime scoring 10 of his 28 points off the bench from the free throw line in the extra period. "We did a great job of getting stops at the end. We made timely baskets. We made big shots in situations where we needed them. In overtime, we just battled them. We have luck on our side right now."
With Horford out, the Hawks are going to need more offensive production from Williams who hit 7-12 shots including 4-7 from three-point range. He also was 10-12 from the free throw line and the Hawks were 28-34 as a team.
Jeff Teague continued his steady play as well going 7-14 from the floor to finish with 20 points and nine assists. Teague went 4-7 from three-point range. Those four makes were a season-high for Teague who came in shooting around 26 percent. If he can get his stroke going from long range then he is going to become even harder to guard.
Mike Scott played a big role off the bench with 18 points on 6-11 shooting. Scott went 3-7 from deep and his three with 9:10 remaining in the fourth gave Atlanta its first lead since the second quarter. Scott added another in the overtime and pulled down four of his six rebounds in the extra period. Atlanta hoisted 39 three-point attempts in the game making 16. They went 10-20 from deep in the second half and overtime.
This game reinforced the importance of pace to Atlanta's attack. The Hawks got off to a good enough start but the second and third quarters were primarily played the way Charlotte is accustomed. The Hawks couldn't get enough stops at the defensive end to find any sort of rhythm offensively. That seemed to change with a 5-0 run to end the third that was capped off by a Williams three to cut the lead to just six.
From there Atlanta's defense improved and they were able to get out in transition which put the pressure on Charlotte's defense.
- This was the first time since 1997 that Atlanta has played three consecutive overtime games. The Hawks have gone 2-1 in those games.
- Kyle Korver went into the fourth quarter looking for his first made three-pointer. He knocked it down with 10:51 remaining in regulation to extend his consecutive games streak to 99. He will go for No. 100 in Orlando on Saturday. Korver finished with eight points on 3-11 shooting and drew tons of attention from Charlotte's defense. Will be interesting to watch to see if teams put more focus on Korver in the wake of Horford's injury.
- DeMarre Carroll returned to the starting lineup despite a sprained thumb and struggled. He played just 19 minutes while going scoreless with four rebounds. Carroll went 0-4 from the field and it was pretty clear that the thumb was bothering him.
- Cartier Martin and Dennis Schröder were in uniform but did not play.
- Al Horford sat behind the Hawks' bench with his arm in a sling during the game. He was not in the locker room following the game.