Whether it was the culmination of another grueling week or the margin of error was just too slight, the Atlanta Hawks ran into a buzz saw named the San Antonio Spurs Saturday night and suffered a lopsided 108-88 loss. The final score probably isn't indicative of the game as it never really was close after Atlanta scored just 12 points in the second quarter.
They will push on and as Mike Budenholzer discussed after the game, hopefully, taking something from Saturday's effort that they can learn from and build on.
"Obviously, San Antonio is a very good team," Budenholzer said following the game. "There is a lot you can learn from watching them play tonight and over the course of time. I think we for a quarter, quarter and a half, some good things were happening. I think we just couldn't keep up with them. We can learn both ways and get ready for whoever is next on Monday."
Atlanta finishes a four games in five nights stretch at 2-2 which seemed like an acceptable result before it began. Wins over the Celtics and Grizzlies were impressive and they suffered a missed opportunity in a close loss at Minnesota. The result in San Antonio shows that there is still work to be done if this team hopes to get back into the elite conversation.
Atlanta will play its 20th game Monday night as they close out November against the Oklahoma City Thunder. That is followed by a pair of games on Wednesday and Friday before the schedule relents with four straight off days. Normally a gap in the schedule of that magnitude could be damaging to a team playing well, but the Hawks are battered and bruised and need the time to heal and to refocus.
Dennis Schröder perhaps turning the corner
Dennis Schröder came into Saturday's game having made just 6 of 31 field-goal attempts over the last four games and had watched his shooting percentage plummet all the way to 39 percent. He finished with nine points and six assists in Saturday's loss to the Spurs while going 4 for 7 from the field. That performance snapped a string of nine straight games in which Schröder had failed to make at least 50 percent of his attempts from the field.
Atlanta's bench has been inconsistent to say the least during the first month of the season. What was viewed as a possible strength coming into the season has failed to materialize as of yet. Injuries have played a part as have the changing rotation. Simply put, the Hawks need Schröder to get back on track and to play better.
Mike Scott finds his stroke during garbage time
Mike Scott entered Saturday's game long after the result had been determined, but did his best to show that he needs another shot at the rotation. Scott's season to date has been a roller coaster ride of inconsistency. He has been in and out of the rotation and his performance has mirrored that. He found his stroke against the Spurs and ended up with a team-high 12 points on 5 for 9 shooting including a pair of three-pointers.
Perhaps a lack of a consistent role and minutes has been part of Scott's struggles. He has never been great defensively, but the numbers so far this season suggest that he isn't killing the Hawks while he is on the court. Still when Tiago Splitter returns from injury, there may not be room for both Scott and Mike Muscala in the rotation. That is the debate that has been going on since training camp.