If you are intent on getting into a shootout you better make sure that you have enough bullets in your gun. The Atlanta Hawks came up a few bullets shy Friday night in a 123-115 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The tone for Friday's game was set early with both teams competing at a ridiculously fast pace and hesitant to offer any kind of defensive resistance. That came back to bite Atlanta in the fourth quarter as they saw a seven-point lead vanish behind a wave of missed shots and opportunities. The Hawks shot just 35 percent from the field in the fourth.
The Thunder on the other hand found another gear knocking down half of their attempts in the fourth and going 5-8 from three-point range. Russell Westbrook scored 15 of his game-high 36 points in the fourth quarter. Anthony Morrow came back to bite his old team with 12 of his 21 points coming in the fourth.
The three-point shooting was the story of the game through three quarters. The Hawks were 13-25 entering the fourth while Oklahoma City was just 8-22. Atlanta missed all four of their three-point attempts in the fourth while the Thunder were 5-8 with four of those makes coming from Morrow.
Atlanta had several opportunities to deliver the knockout blow throughout the game. They pushed the lead to double figures on more than one occasion but could never lock in defensively enough to put the game away. In a high possession game that was playing with fire and they got burned at the end.
Big picture, a 3-3 road trip isn't that bad particularly with as banged up as this Hawks team currently is. Friday's game will serve as another reminder that their defense is what has carried them to the top seed in the East. Its something that Mike Budenholzer and his staff has said on more than one occasion and its something they will be saying again after Friday's loss.