The Atlanta Hawks extended their road winning streak to a franchise best nine-straight Tuesday night with a 105-87 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. The Hawks played without starters Jeff Teague, DeMarre Carroll and Paul Millsap along with reserve Pero Antic as Mike Budenholzer opted to rest them on the first game a four-game road trip.
"It was a good team effort, good team win," said Budenholzer after the game. "I think our defense and just our activity for the first three quarters kept giving us an opportunity to get a little bit of separation. Obviously, Al Horford had a great game. In so many ways he impacts the game. Kent Bazemore off the bench was really good for us. Really you can go all up and down the roster. It's just a good team win. "
The Hawks have the luxury of giving guys a night off here and there due to their four-game advantage in the Eastern Conference standings. Budenholzer had to be pleased with the performance of his reserves on Tuesday. With starters out, the system doesn't change and after a slow start, Atlanta's execution was on par recording 34 assists on 42 made baskets.
Of course it also helps to have a guy like Al Horford to anchor everything. Horford recorded the first triple double of his career finishing with 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Horford went 8-10 from the field and 5-6 from the free throw line.
We have gushed about Horford's decision making at length before and he serves as the team's quarterback defensively. Slowly but surely, he is working his way back to his uber efficient self offensively.
With many of the regulars in street clothes, guys like Kent Bazemore and Shelvin Mack took advantage of the additional minutes. Bazemore turned his best performance of the season finishing with 17 points and five rebounds. Bazemore finished 3-6 from beyond-the-arc and is starting to display a much softer touch around the rim.
Mack hadn't played in 12 days but logged 23 minutes off the bench and finished with a double-double of 12 points and 10 assists. Having Mack around is just a great insurance policy for the Hawks at this point. He is a professional who understands his role and is willing to do whatever the team asks of him.
Philadelphia isn't a great opponent by any stretch of the imagination but this was a good win for the Hawks given the circumstances. In the past we have seen Hawks teams that wouldn't have been mature enough to handle resting that many regular players. Atlanta's reserves are that ingrained into the system that the natural drop off from starter to reserve isn't as steep.