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Hawks come at the Kings, miss

The Atlanta Hawks blow a huge lead, lose to the Kings on the road.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Sacramento Kings Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks came out firing on Friday night, but went ice cold in the second half, blowing a 22-point lead in a 108-107 loss in their first visit to Sacramento’s newly-constructed Golden 1 Center. Atlanta led the game from the opening tip to 4:41 left in the fourth quarter, when Sacramento tied the game, eventually taking the lead. After buckets back and forth between the two teams, the Kings had the last laugh, getting the game-winning layup from Darren Collison:

Tim Hardaway, Jr. had a shot at the buzzer, but it was blocked by Matt Barnes and the Hawks didn’t have time to get another shot up. Replays indicated that Hardaway was fouled on the shot and should have had the opportunity to go to the line and win the game for Atlanta, but the officials swallowed their whistles. After the game, Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer sounded off on the referees: “It’s clearly a foul. They go right through his body.” Tomorrow’s L2M report will indicate whether or not Budenholzer is correct, even though it won’t do anything to change the outcome of the game.

Hardaway led the Hawks with 28 points as he continues to play well in Thabo Sefolosha’s absence, but it was the defense from the Hawks down the stretch that let them down. Sacramento scored 31 and 34 points in the third and fourth quarters, respectively, after scoring just 46 in the first half. Dwight Howard was a monster on the glass in the first two frames, collecting 10 of his 11 rebounds before halftime, but fouled out on a key play down the stretch and wasn’t in the game to protect the rim against Collison’s game-winner.

Paul Millsap was his normal jack-of-all-trades self on the night of his 32nd birthday, notching 25 points, six rebounds, three assists, and two steals while holding all-world superstar DeMarcus Cousins to just 6-for-17 shooting from the field, including a floating jumper to give the Hawks the lead before Collison’s layup.

Next up for the Hawks is a trip to Portland to face Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, and the Trail Blazers on TNT Monday night before heading down to Los Angeles to face the Clippers. Both games will tip off at 10:30 Eastern.