Basketball, and Thabo Sefolosha, returned to Philips Arena on Wednesday night, and it was a beautiful thing. The Atlanta Hawks, led by Jeff Teague, improved to 3-0 in the preseason with a 100-86 victory over the San Antonio Spurs, and they generally looked good in doing so.
Things began in stellar fashion for the Hawks, who flew to a 16-5 lead that included the first seven points of the night. However, that lead evaporated rather quickly, as San Antonio closed the quarter on a 14-2 run over the last five-plus minutes to claim the advantage after the first quarter. From there, the Spurs would also keep control of the lead through the halftime break at 48-42, and while neither side was impressive, San Antonio had the (slight) edge in shooting 39% from the floor against just 34% for the home team.
Atlanta did have a big run coming, though, and it finally happened in the third quarter. The Hawks were trailing 62-58 when the onslaught occurred, and it came in the form of a three-point barrage, as Kyle Korver connected on three triples with Dennis Schröder adding another with a dunk from Edy Tavares in between. The result was a 15-0 run, and when it was over, the Hawks held an 11-point lead as the third quarter began to wind down.
From there, the Hawks would stretch the lead to as many as 16 points with a flourish to begin the fourth period, and the lead was safe from there.
From an individual standpoint, Jeff Teague was the best player on the court in this one for the Hawks, scoring 17 points (on 5 of 8 shooting) in just 24 minutes of action. Paul Millsap (13 points, 9 rebounds), Kyle Korver (13 points, 4 rebounds) and Dennis Schröder (10 points, 4 assists) all chipped in with solid performances, but it was Teague who stood out above the rest. Beyond that, the return of Sefolosha was the highlight, as the veteran swingman looked spry in tallying five points and three rebounds in eight first-half minutes.
Looking further down the bench, Mike Budenholzer made a few interesting decisions. Both Shelvin Mack and Mike Muscala were excluded from the "rotation" in the first three quarters, while Edy Tavares (18 minutes) was prominently featured. Among training camp invites, Lamar Patterson saw the first action (entering with 8:23 remaining) and he was the only player competing for a roster spot to see extended time, with Earl Barron, Terran Petteway and DeQuan Jones entering for spot duty later in the contest.
The Hawks will continue their preseason schedule with a trip to Dallas to take on the Mavericks on Friday night. Stay tuned.