Prior to Wednesday's game in Orlando, Mike Budenholzer talked about winning on the road and the different challenges teams face away from their home court. He talked about poise and finding away and the focus it takes to be successful on an opponent's floor. Against the Magic the Hawks made it much tougher than it should have been but showed some poise down the stretch and found a way to pull out a much needed win.
When the Atlanta blew a 19 point lead Wednesday night it looked for a moment like the game was going to be a repeat performance of their earlier losses to Orlando. The Magic had already defeated the Hawks twice earlier this season with big offensive runs that Atlanta was unable to overcome. Atlanta recovered from its lapse on Wednesday with enough time to right the ship thanks to some clutch performances and a monster night from Paul Millsap.
"I wish they could put a leadership column on the stat sheet. Tonight when we got down, Paul was the one that pulled them together," Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer said. "All the other stuff is great ... but I think it's his leadership, and I think our group needs that going forward."
Millsap scored seven of his 24 points in the fourth quarter and turned in a monster performance at both ends of the floor. Per Hawks PR, Millsap is the first Hawks player to ever record 24 points, six rebounds, five assists, five blocks and three steals in the same game. It was an All-Star worthy performance by Millsap and teammates like Jeff Teague, have taken notice as well:
"He does that every night, Do-It-All-Paul. He can score the basketball, rebound, pass it, everything. He's been the ultimate player for us this year, and he did it again tonight."
Teague went on to tell the AJC that it would be "highway robbery" should Millsap not be selected to play in the 2014 NBA All-Star Game.
- DeMarre Carroll told the AJC after the game that his hamstring injury was not serious and that he did not expect to miss any time.
- Atlanta piled up 26 more assists on 41 made field goals against the Magic. The Hawks lead the league in assists per game at 25.6. Friday's opponent San Antonio is second at 25.2.
- The Hawks knocked down 21-24 free throw attempts in the game and are now sixth in the NBA in free throw percentage at 78.4%. Considering their early struggles that is an amazing stat.
- Kyle Korver extended his consecutive games streak with a made three to 110 games. He finished with 12 points and seven assists while going 5-11 from the field.
- Shelvin Mack scored in double figures off the bench for the third straight game. Mack finished with 10 points and three assists while going 5-10 from the field.
- Mike Scott's 10 point performance was his sixth straight game in double figures off the bench for the Hawks.
- Gustavo Ayon, Dennis Schröder and James Nunnally were healthy DNP-CD's for Atlanta.
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- Life after the Lottery: The Atlanta Hawks and the 2014 NBA Draft
- Paul Millsap should be an All-Star, says Zach Lowe