A monster night from Paul Millsap and a solid bounce back effort from Dennis Schroder were the difference for the Atlanta Hawks in a 103-97 win over the Sacramento Kings. The win snapped Atlanta's three-game losing streak and broke up a stretch of four losses over their last five games. Now with a pair of off days before Saturday's game in Cleveland, the Hawks have a rare opportunity to catch their breath and refocus before another grueling stretch to close out the month.
"I think we competed for longer and better and our focus and attention to detail was closer to where we needed it to be," Mike Budenholzer said following Wednesday's game. We'll just continue to get more perfect, less mistakes, all those things. I thought a lot of guys, like Paul, really stood out and stepped out and competed and played well. Thabo off the bench, defensively. It was good to get a win. We obviously needed that."
Atlanta has been plagued by turnovers in recent games, but the Hawks limited themselves to just 12 on Wednesday. In contrast, the Kings turned the ball over 21 times which led to 19 points for Atlanta. The Hawks offense snapped to form scoring 62 points in the first half and while the defense might have been lacking it's usual bite, they were able to get the crucial stops that they needed to preserve the win.
The Hawks got several big performances from key contributors none bigger than Paul Millsap who finished with a team-high 23 points and a game-high 16 rebounds. His bucket with 15.7 remaining sealed the game for Atlanta and did a bit put the frustrations of this week behind them.
"I was a little ticked off," Millsap said. "It's been a long few weeks. These last few games coming down to the wire and not being able to pull them off, it was an emotional moment."
Dennis Schroder was coming off one of his worst performances of the season in Tuesday's loss at Brooklyn but successfully bounced back with 22 points, six assists to go along with just one turnover. Schroder's aggressiveness is never in question, but the decision making was much better in Wednesday's game.
With Kent Bazemore still sidelined due to an ankle injury, the Hawks went a little deeper into their bench with Lamar Patterson making his return to the rotation. Patterson responded with a solid nine points and five rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench.
"I just wanted to go out there and compete," Patterson said. "That's what Coach Bud preaches. I just wanted to do that and try to get rebounds, knock down shots and find the open guy."
It wasn't pretty and it was anything but a clean performance, but with the Hawks at their lowest point so far this season, they will gladly take Wednesday's win.
"It's crazy. Our past couple of games came down to the wire," Patterson said. It's good to.....grind this win out, especially at home. The home fans needed that win and we needed it also."