The Atlanta Hawks continued their west coast swing by following up their win in Portland with a tight loss in Sacramento, making the Kings the victors, 91-88 Thursday night.
The Hawks had a last attempt, down two with 12.9 seconds to go, but Paul Millsap lost control of the ball and Omri Casspi stole it, ending the Hawks chance to tie. The last play was clearly broken, as Millsap was forced to make a move and create something as the rest of the Hawks looked as if some became disconnected, Millsap spun towards the hoop and the ball flew away into the waiting hands of Casspi. After Darren Collison made one free throw out of two, the Hawks had one more chance.
No team gives up more threes than the Kings, so down three with 2 seconds left, the Hawks had one final gasp. But, once again, the play called didn't develop and Kent Bazemore threw it through the hands of Kyle Korver and by the time Al Horford picked it up and headed to the three point line, the buzzer had already sounded. Two chances in two possessions to tie the game, and neither possession yielded a single shot attempt.
There was a key stretch in the third quarter, when the Kings made a large run to extend their lead to 17, when the Hawks lost their offensive identity, using possession after possession with little clue what they wanted to do every time down the court. This led to some easy transition baskets by the Kings, and the Hawks had to battle back to draw even down the stretch. Part of this stretch was a pretty brutal couple of minutes for Jeff Teague, who watched a rebound sail over his head without effort and then offered turnovers and malaise offensively, leading to being benched early in the second half there for Dennis Schröder.
Defensive Rebounding continues to be a weakness for this team, and it's been as such for almost a decade now. That the Kings are a strong offensive rebounding team doesn't help, but the Kings strength mixed with the long time gap for the Hawks made for a number of second chances. The Kings ended the game with 17 offensive rebounds, far too much extra defense for the Hawks to play and win.
Boogie Cousins was too hard for any of the Hawks to handle. The team strategy seemed to be to let Cousins get to the hoop and then jump him like pigeons on a french try at the Mcdonald's parking lot. It didn't stop Cousins from a 25 point, 15 rebound and five assist game.
The Hawks also added 19 turnovers and a mere 21 assists, a far worse ratio than normal and the reason why they had stretches of malfunction and dysfunction, some of which led to Jeff Teague being planted on the bench for most of the second half, and though Schröder didn't far much better, the effort was obviously enough for Bud, on the back end of a back to back set, to sit Teague for good.
Despite all of that, as Nique likes to say, the Kings kept the Hawks in it and the Hawks rarely let up in the effort department save for that stretch in the third, but it wasn't enough and the lack of defensive rebounding and good possessions in the second half sank them, ending a 15-game winning streak over the Kings.