The Atlanta Hawks entered Monday night in something of a malaise, as losers of five of six games with offensive issues throughout that stretch. The arrival of the Dallas Mavericks proved to be a strong elixir, however, as the Hawks exploded offensively, shooting 53% from the floor and 40% from three on the way to a 112-97 victory.
It was a brutal start to the night for both teams, as neither squad could force the ball through the basket in the early going. Kyle Korver converted the first field goal of the night by either side with 8:25 left in the first quarter (not a misprint) by knocking down a three, but fortunately for Atlanta, that jumpstarted a strong performance for the majority of the first half.
The Hawks put together a 17-2 run that did most of the damage, and during that spurt, Korver converted two additional threes to help Atlanta build a 23-11 advantage. The home team did much of its damage in the first quarter defensively as well, holding the Mavericks to just 15 points (on 21% shooting and 1 of 8 from three), and that uber-low point total represented the lowest mark allowed by the Hawks all season in a single period.
The second quarter was not quite as kind, however, at least in the latter stages. Dallas closed the gap with an 11-0 run over a two and a half minute period down the stretch, slashing the lead to 47-42, and only back-to-back threes from Jeff Teague preserved the advantage before halftime. It was certainly a bit disappointing to see only a 53-46 lead at the break given the fact that Dallas shot just 32% from the floor, but a comfortable halftime advantage is never an inherently bad thing.
Fortunately for the home team, Jeff Teague owned the third quarter. Teague and Kyle Korver began the second half with a three-point binge to drive Atlanta's lead back into double figures, and in the first eight minutes of the period, Teague compiled 13 (!) points. By that point in the night, he had already surpassed his career high with five threes, and Teague looked like every bit of the player that was named an All-Star in 2015.
From there, the Hawks simply cruised to victory. The lead never slipped below the 10-point mark in the closing period, and Dallas wasn't able to put together the type of run that would seriously threaten what would become a nice win for Atlanta at 112-97.
In the end, this game was marked by the explosion of Teague. In addition to surpassing his career high for three-pointers, Teague set a new season-high with 32 points (on 12 of 15 shooting), while dishing out eight assists and grabbing five rebounds in only 27 minutes of action. It was incredibly encouraging to see this type of dominant performance from Teague, especially in the midst of conjecture about a possible trade.
Though the Atlanta Hawks haven't played particularly well of late, the team certainly put together a quality 48-minute performance against a playoff team from the Western Conference, and that should not go unnoticed. The team will return to action on Wednesday with a trip to Philadelphia, and the Hawks will look to follow up on this win at that point. Stay tuned.