The Atlanta Hawks won their second straight and climbed above the .500 mark for the first time this season with a 103-94 win over the Charlotte Bobcats. The Hawks trailed by eight at halftime but came roaring back in a decisive third quarter that was sparked by their defense. Head coach Mike Budenholzer was happy with his team's effort following the game:
"It was a good win on the road for us. I think it was another step forward for our defense. ... In the third quarter, keeping them off the free throw line was a point of emphasis. We kept them to two free throws and 16 points in that third quarter, and that is where we got our separation."
The third quarter was a textbook showing from the Hawks defensively as they held the Bobcats to 6-for-18 shooting (33 pct.). They also forced six turnovers and converted those into 12 points in the quarter. When the dust cleared, Atlanta had outscored Charlotte 34-16 and had turned an eight point deficit into a 10 point lead heading to the fourth.
Atlanta's defense is also making strides since surrendering 118 points in the season opening loss at Dallas. The Hawks are now 17th in the NBA in defensive efficiency allowing 102.6 points per 100 possessions. That is nothing to brag about necessarily but Atlanta's offense has been good enough that a middle of the road defense will give the team a chance to win on most nights.
Clifford singles out Teague
Bobcats head coach Steve Clifford during his post game media session singled out Jeff Teague's performance as a reason for his team's loss.
"I thought that Horford had a terrific game, but Jeff Teague controlled that game from about the last four minutes of the second quarter all the way through the second half," he said. "We couldn't keep him out of the paint, we couldn't control the pick and roll, and the majority of their shots came directly from him."
Teague went out with early foul trouble which led to Atlanta's early offensive issues. He didn't shoot the ball well but he is the catalyst when it comes to Atlanta's ball movement offensively. Teague recorded his fourth straight double-double and fifth of the season with 14 points and 12 assists. He is now second in the NBA behind Chris Paul in assists per game at 10.1.
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