For a portion of the day, it looked as if the Atlanta Hawks would not take the floor at Philips Arena on Wednesday evening. Fortunately, the match-up with the Dallas Mavericks eventually took place, and the Hawks sprinted away from the competition in the second half on the way to a 104-87 victory.
Things began with an ominous tone on this night, as a DeMarre Carroll opened the scoring with a three, but the visiting Mavericks quickly followed with an 11-0 run of their own to claim a solid lead. Dallas built their advantage to as many as 14 points in the first quarter, and on their way to that number, the Mavs converted a blistering 64% of their shot attempts against just 38% for the home team.
Atlanta would awaken in the second quarter, however, and that was a blessed sign for the fans that managed to make their way to the arena despite the conditions. Kent Bazemore seemed to ignite things with a thunderous dunk in the early stages of the period, and that kicked off what would become a 14-4 run by the Hawks to slash the lead to 43-39.
Later in the quarter, Kyle Korver and DeMarre Carroll teamed up to swish back-to-back threes, and that would cut the Dallas advantage to just two points with less than three and a half minutes remaining. The Mavericks would hold off the Hawks for the remainder of the half, thanks in large part to Atlanta's inability to knock down shots (including four straight missed threes by the good guys), but the Hawks trailed just 53-47 at the break and that felt like a blessing given the circumstances.
The second half began in electric fashion for the Hawks, and the team never looked back. Atlanta raced to a 13-4 spurt, including back-to-back threes from Paul Millsap and Kyle Korver, to take a 60-57 lead, and that was their first advantage since the game started 3-0. Following a Dallas timeout, the Hawks scored six additional points in a row, forcing yet another momentum-stopping timeout from Rick Carlisle, and that gave Atlanta a 66-57 lead with 6:23 left in the third.
The rest of the third quarter was largely a back-and-forth affair, but with the Hawks energized on the defensive end and converting shots offensively, the recipe was set. Atlanta scored the first 12 (!!!) points of the fourth quarter, and in what seemed like the blink of an eye, the advantage rose to 21 points and the game was effectively over. Dallas would never again climb closer than a 17-point deficit, and the crowd was eventually paid off for their efforts with a comfortable 104-87 victory.
On an extremely balanced evening offensively, Dennis Schröder stood out in a big way off the bench. The second-year point guard finished with 17 points and 4 assists in just 20 minutes, and his spark certainly lifted the team in the early going. Every member of the starting lineup, led by Kyle Korver with 16 points and four triples, scored in double-figures, and after a wretched start in the shooting department, the Hawks finished 46% from the field and 37% from long distance on the day.
The situation was never "normal" in Atlanta on Wednesday night, but the Hawks glided to another win over a Western Conference opponent and it was "business as usual" in that respect.