The Atlanta Hawks dug themselves an early hole and never recovered in a disappointing 127-113 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. Atlanta's three-game winning streak goes up in smoke and they fall two games back of the Brooklyn Nets in the race for home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
The Mavericks came out red hot and the Hawks offered little resistance defensively as Dallas raced out to a 34-25 lead at the end of the first quarter. Dallas hit 58 percent of their shots in the opening quarter and picked right back up where they left off in the second as they extended the lead to 68-55 at the half.
Every time the Hawks looked like they might make a run in the second half the Mavericks were there with an answer. Atlanta trailed by as many as 21 points and cut the lead to 11 points on a couple of occasions but could get no closer.
Darren Collison led the way for the Mavericks with 24 points off the bench. Dirk Nowitzki added 22 while O.J. Mayo pitched in 17. Dallas hit a ridiculous 57 percent of their field goal attempts in the game and were 13-22 from three-point range which says a lot about the Hawks defensive effort on the night.
Jeff Teague was a bright spot for the Hawks as he finished with 19 points and seven assists on 7-13 shooting and looked like he had completely shaken off the ankle injury that slowed him the previous two games. Al Horford logged another double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Josh Smith 13 points, five rebounds and six assists.
Offensively the Hawks were plenty good enough on the night hitting 56 percent of their own shots. However, their lack of focus on the defensive end early put them in such a hole that they were just not going to be able to climb out of. The first quarter saw a little bit of everything from blown individual assignments to missed defensive rotations. It also saw a lack of effort where many times they just seemed to bothered to raise a hand to contest a shot.
Its disappointing coming off of what felt like one of the most complete wins of the season in Sunday's victory in Brooklyn. The loss drops the Hawks from fifth to seventh and two games back of the Nets for fourth. While Dallas turned in an exceptional performance they came in four games under .500 and were 13-22 on the road. There is no sugar coating this loss.