The Golden State Warriors are still pretty good without Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala.
Many gave the Atlanta Hawks an increased chance at victory after the announcement that the Warriors would be down two of their top players (including the league's reigning MVP) on Tuesday night, but the shorthanded nature of the home team wasn't enough to push the visitors over the top. Golden State led for the majority of the evening, and when the dust settled following an exciting overtime battle, the Hawks kicked off their five-game road trip with a 109-105 loss despite a valiant effort.
The first of many runs from the Warriors came in the form of seven straight points that gave Steve Kerr's team a 15-8 lead. The visiting Hawks would respond with an 8-0 run of their own in short order, but that was one the brightest stretches of the night. Golden State put up 32 points (on 50% FG and 50% from three-point land) in the first quarter to make an imprint on the proceedings and the Hawks settled into a deficit that would be difficult to overcome.
In the second quarter, Leandro Barbosa (not a misprint) scored nine points in his first four minutes of action to key the Warriors to a double-digit lead, and after a brief response from the Hawks, another push would come. Golden State raced to a 9-0 spurt to claim a 56-42 lead, and while that was the largest margin of the half, the Warriors led by 11 points after 24 minutes despite "only" shooting 46% from the floor.
Coming out of the break, the Hawks immediately climbed within six, but until the final stretch of the third quarter, Golden State kept their lead at a safe distance. Atlanta would produce an 8-0 run that looked to close out the period with a little bit of momentum and a score of 73-70, but Barbosa connected on a buzzer-beating jumper to break that mojo at 75-70.
The fourth quarter was, well, eventful. Marreese Speights knocked down back-to-back threes to give the Warriors an eight-point lead and, for a brief moment, it looked as if the home team would simply pull away. However, the Hawks roared back with a 13-2 run of their own to claim a 90-87 lead, and real optimism toward a win crept into the equation.
Draymond Green wouldn't allow the Hawks to get too comfortable in front, though, as he immediately converted a three-point play to tie the game at 90 and, later, made one of the more incredible defensive plays you will ever see to thwart a Tim Hardaway Jr. layup attempt. From there, the Warriors extended their response to eight straight points on the back of Andrew Bogut and Klay Thompson, and Atlanta was in a five-point hole again.
With no regard what was supposed to happen, though, the Hawks punched back yet again. Kyle Korver knocked down a three and Dennis Schröder tied the game at 95-95 with 1:22 remaining on a slashing layup. Then, after a Klay Thompson missed three, Paul Millsap got to the line, converted both free throws and gave the Hawks a 97-95 advantage with exactly 60 seconds left on the clock.
Thompson quickly got to the free throw line in his own right, knotting the game at 97-97, and that is where the score would remain until the buzzer sounded to end regulation. Paul Millsap had a chance to win the game with an open three that caromed off the rim, and on the ensuing trip, Thompson missed before the clock struck triple zeroes.
In the extra frame, Thompson was (again) the beneficiary of a questionable call to create the first points with two free throws, but Kent Bazemore produced the next four points on his own to give the Hawks the lead again at 101-99 with 3:10 to go. On cue, Thompson banged home a three on the next trip to retake the advantage for Golden State, and after an ugly turnover from Horford and a missed shot from Schröder, the Warriors extended the lead back to three with 1:51 on the clock.
Schröder then got to the line on the next trip, but he missed both (!) free throws. Thankfully, the Hawks were able to generate a stop on the other end and Millsap slashed the margin to one with a lay-up. However, the biggest play of the night was still to come and it went against Atlanta.
The Hawks played phenomenal defense on the ensuing possession, but the ball ended up in the hands of Draymond Green at the end of the shot clock, and he connected on a miraculous, off-balance three with 40.2 seconds to go. With the scoreboard reflecting a 107-103 score, Atlanta was in a serious bind, but Schröder got back to the free throw line and made both this time to keep the team within striking distance. However, Klay Thompson came back and knocked down a fadeaway over Millsap and that shot effectively ended the chances of an Atlanta victory.
There is, of course, no shame in losing an overtime game to a team that remains undefeated in their home building this season. On one hand, the Atlanta Hawks fell short when given a few opportunities to claim victory in the later stages of the game, but on the other, Mike Budenholzer's team battled back from a deficit that plagued them for much of the 53 minutes, and in a hostile environment, that is noteworthy.