The Atlanta Hawks did not play well on Sunday afternoon in what was their homecoming following a six-game road trip. As a result, the San Antonio Spurs ran away with a 114-95 win that arguably wasn't that close.
Despite the goodwill of returning home, the Hawks fell flat in the early moments. In fact, "fell flat" was an understatement. The Spurs raced to a 20-4 start to the game, as the Hawks committed five turnovers in the first six minutes with woeful shooting, and when the onslaught ceased, San Antonio was leading 26-6.
The Spurs were having their way on both ends, including a spurt where they made 10 consecutive shots to cap that massive run. Atlanta did rally, to a point, with seven straight points to end the first quarter, but all that did was keep the deficit somewhat manageable despite the eye sore of eight turnovers in 12 minutes.
Kyle Korver provided the home crowd with reason to cheer in the second quarter, igniting things with back-to-back threes to slash the lead back to 13 at the 8:28 mark. Unfortunately, the visiting Spurs quickly bounced things back, and Atlanta trailed by an 18-point margin at the halftime break.
The ugly story of the first half could be illustrated in many ways, but the Hawks committed 12 turnovers while dishing out just 11 assists. In addition, San Antonio shot a blistering 58% from the field in the half, and every member of Atlanta's starting five posted a +/- rating of -14 or worse. Needless to say, the mountain to climb was considerable.
Sadly, that mountain was far too high given the way that the home team played coming out of the break. The Spurs put together a 9-2 start to the half, including a bizarre missed lay-up by Hawks point guard Jeff Teague that induced a Mike Budenholzer technical foul. Soon after, Atlanta’s head coach was handed a second technical, courtesy of Joey Crawford, and as such, he was ejected for the first time in his coaching career.
The Hawks showed a bit of life following the surprising ejection, as they rattled off an 11-2 run that featured exclusively points from Paul Millsap, and overall, Atlanta outscored San Antonio by a 20-8 margin in the time period immediately following the fireworks. However, that charge stalled a bit, and the home team never closed within 13 points at any point in the third quarter.
In the final frame, the comedy factor rose bit by bit. Former Hawks forward Boris Diaw scored 15 points in less than nine minutes of play during the period, and as a result, a 30-point offensive quarter from Atlanta was rendered irrelevant. Backup head coach Kenny Atkinson pulled the regulars at the 3:20 mark with a 19-point deficit, and it was full-blown garbage time from there on the way to the final margin of 114-95.
From the bright side department, Pero Antic (11 points) scored in double-figures for the second straight game and Dennis Schröder finished the day with 18 points and 5 assists in less than 24 minutes. However, reaching for positives in this one would be difficult, as evidenced by the final score.
More analysis will follow, but for now, let's agree that there have been better days for the Atlanta Hawks.