It probably wasn't the complete effort that the Atlanta Hawks were looking for, but they did just enough to overcome their rebounding issues to grind out a 98-95 win over the Dallas Mavericks Wednesday night. They will look to continue those good fortunes on Thursday when they finish off the back-to-back with a matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Atlanta put forth good efforts at both end of the floor in Dallas Wednesday yet had to put together a run in the game's final moments to escape with a victory. The Hawks shot 48 percent for the game and held the Mavericks to just 36 percent shooting. Dallas was able to stay in the game thanks to 20 offensive rebounds and 17 second-chance points. The Hawks will need a much better effort across the board against a good rebounding Thunder team.
Oklahoma City enters Thursday's game as the No. 2 rebounding team in the league. However, in the first meeting between these two teams this season, it was the Hawks that came away with the rebounding edge 51-48 and a 106-100 victory. Al Horford and Paul Millsap both finished with double-doubles in that game, but it was a solid effort on the boards up and down the roster that made the difference. The Hawks will need a similar effort in Thursday's game if they hope to escape with a victory.
Another area of concern for the Hawks against the Thunder is rotating out to their three-point shooters. The Thunder come into Thursday's game seventh in the league in three-point percentage. Atlanta ranks in the bottom third of the league in opponent's three-point percentage although they did give a good effort in Wednesday's win. Three-point defense was clearly a focus during the team's four-day break and they limited the Mavericks to 7 for 31 shooting from deep.
Atlanta enters Thursday's game with a 14-9 record and in fourth place in a tightly contested Eastern Conference. The Hawks trail first-place Cleveland by one game but are also just one game ahead of eighth-place Chicago.
Game Date/Time: Thursday, December 10, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
TV: Fox Sports Southeast
Radio: 92.9 "The Game" FM