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Paul Millsap, Tim Hardaway Jr. come up big as Hawks defeat Spurs

Big nights from Millsap and Hardaway Jr. push Hawks past Spurs.

San Antonio Spurs v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks turned in one of their best performances of the season Sunday night outlasting the San Antonio Spurs 114-112 in overtime.

“Both teams made a ton of players, a ton of shots. It was a pretty exciting NBA basketball game,” Budenholzer said following the game.

“I’m proud of our guys for competing for 53 minutes. Against a team like San Antonio, you have to match their competitiveness. I thought our energy and activity carried over to the offense. Obviously Tim Hardaway had an amazing night, and Paul Millsap. Individually those two guys kind of carried us. It’s a good win for us at home against a good team in some tight circumstances. So I just feel good for our guys.”

Millsap got going late in the third and helped Atlanta rally from a 10-point deficit. He scored 17 straight points for the Hawks at one point and single handedly put the team on his back.

“Paul is a special player. He had one of those special kind of runs offensively,” Budenholzer said. Obviously he started hitting some three’s, finished the quarter hitting some three’s. Then we went to him a little bit on the post. He was good there. He was scoring a lot of different ways. He was working the glass. We get to see it every day. He’s a special player. He does so many things. Tonight it really came for him offensively, but the things he does defensively...they’re going to Aldridge a lot of possessions. He’s having to guard LaMarcus Aldridge on that end. Heck of an individual effort by Paul Millsap.”

Millsap ended the night with a game-high 32 points and 13 rebounds but afterwards he was more concerned that his team had just captured a much needed win.

“It’s great to get this win against a really good team,” Millsap said. It’s good to get it for Bud. He’s happy to have it under his belt. We’re happy we started the year off right. It’s a good time for us to get to who we are and start something special.”

“I was just being aggressive, trying to make something happen,” Millsap said of his 17-point run. “It felt like we were a little sluggish. Offensively, we were a little stagnant. I was just trying to get something going for us. Tim came in and did a great job of carrying that load too.”

As brilliant as Millsap was late, the Hawks still needed a huge play from Hardaway late to force overtime. His three-pointer with just 3.3 remaining in regulation tied the game and eventually sent the game into overtime after Kawhi Leonard missed at the other end.

“It was reminiscent of the play a month or so ago when I had an opportunity to win the game or tie the game,” Hardaway Jr. said of his game-tying three. “In that sequence, I just wanted to do a great job of just separating from my man. Mike Muscala and Kyle Korver did a great job of screening their own men and getting me open.”

Hardaway Jr. equaled a career-high with 29 points and was 11 of 13 from the field including 6 of 7 from three-point range. He made another huge play late in overtime when he came up with an offensive rebound and was fouled with 10.8 seconds remaining. Millsap grabbed another offensive rebound a play later setting Atlanta up for the win.

“They hit some big shots, but that’s what it takes to win these games. You have to make the hustle plays,” Kyle Korver said when asked about Millsap and Hardaway Jr’s late heroics. “You have to get the 50-50 balls. You have to get the offensive rebound that gives you the extra possession and gives you extra free throws. That’s what it takes to win games against good teams. Both of them played awesome games tonight.”

The win snapped an 11-game losing streak against San Antonio and gave Mike Budenholzer his first career victory over his old team.

I think a lot of teams have losing streaks against the Spurs,” Korver added. “We’re just one of those teams. They’re a great team. Even in overtime, when you’re up and the game is just so far from over. Until the time runs out, you just feel like the Spurs are going to stay in the game. They’re going to make the plays they need to, and they did. It’s a good win for us. We needed to be in a game like tonight where it could’ve gone either way. We had to really tough out some plays, come up with some big shots, come up with some big stops and rebounds. It was good to see our team make those plays tonight.”

Atlanta will get a couple of days off to rest up following the victory before they embark on a four-game road trip beginning in Orlando on Wednesday.