The Atlanta Hawks took their three-game winning streak on the road on Monday night, and while it wasn't a breeze from the opening tip, the team emerged with a runaway, 97-83 victory. The victory marks the first time all season that the Hawks have been able to put together four straight wins, and that made the victory even that much sweeter.
Things didn't go swimmingly for the Hawks in the early going, despite the fact that Atlanta accumulated an 8-2 lead to start the game. The Bobcats, playing in their home building, sprinted to a 16-3 run from that point, and rode that momentum to a nice lead at the break, with the only bright spot being 13 crucial first-half points from Paul Millsap.
The Hawks began the second half with a 6-point deficit, but from the downbeat after halftime, things were vastly different. Paul Millsap scored the first 8 points of the half for the Hawks, finishing with 11 in the period, and Kyle Korver joined him with 10 of his own to help aid the 30-16 push over just 12 minutes of action. From there, Atlanta began the 4th quarter on an 11-2 run (13-2 if you include the final bucket of the 3rd quarter from Elton Brand), and with a decisive 87-70 lead after that spurt, the final 6 minutes was academic.
From an individual standpoint, it was the Paul Millsap show in Charlotte. Atlanta's lone All-Star finished with 28 points on 12 for 20 shooting, and he was the best player on the court throughout the night. In support of Paul, big man Pero Antic had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, while Kyle Korver put together a solid all-court performance with 10 points (including 2 threes), 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and even 2 blocks.
It wasn't simply a three-man show, though, as Jeff Teague had an up-and-down night (as evidenced by his 4 for 14 shooting), but he still finished with 9 assists and 6 rebounds to go along with two huge threes during the third quarter run. Elton Brand did his Elton Brand impression with 4 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 blocks with big-time defense in 16 minutes, and Mike Scott added 10 points in 14 minutes off the bench.
Defense was key, especially in the second half, for Atlanta, as they held the Bobcats to just 35% shooting from the floor, and that was big in allowing the road team to steal a win despite Charlotte committing only 6 turnovers. It was Atlanta's 11th consecutive win over Charlotte (not a misprint), and the Hawks "having Charlotte's number" doesn't even begin to do the relationship justice.
The Hawks return home in a hurry, as the team faces off with the Toronto Raptors at Philips Arena on Tuesday night.