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Hawks lose fourth straight, fall to Kings in blowout fashion

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That got ugly.

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Atlanta Hawks Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks will have better days but Thursday night’s contest against the Sacramento Kings did not go well. Though the home team competed in the first half, the floodgates opened in the third quarter and, when all was said and done, the team dropped its fourth straight decision by a final score of 146-115.

To continue an ominous trend, the Hawks struggled mightily in the area of turnovers, committing mistakes early and often in the first half. Atlanta gifted five turnovers in the first five minutes and, with help from that, the Kings were able to take an early lead.

Sacramento used an 8-0 run across the end of the first and the beginning of the second quarter to take a double-figure lead and, eventually, the visitors pushed the advantage to 13. From there, the Hawks did rally to the tune of a 14-4 comeback near the end of the second quarter but, when the dust settled in the form of the halftime break, a five-point deficit likely felt like a gift for Atlanta.

The Hawks committed 13 turnovers in the first half, leading to 22 points for the Kings, and only red-hot shooting (62 percent from the floor and 45 percent from three) kept Atlanta within striking distance. There were bright spots, however, when the team wasn’t kicking the ball around offensively.

Alex Poythress returned after a short injury-related absence and made an immediate impact at the 4.

Elsewhere, DeAndre’ Bembry made all four of his first-half shots, including a few creative dribble-drives to the rim.

Unfortunately, Kevin Huerter was forced to the locker room with an ankle injury in the first quarter, appearing for only one minute of action before being ruled out for the evening. In his stead, though, Tyler Dorsey returned to the rotation and brought offensive energy.

While there was room for some level of optimism as the halftime break arrived, that positive mojo quickly evaporated in the third quarter. The Kings zoomed to a 14-0 run to snatch complete control and, within the first 5:11 of the third quarter, Sacramento scored 22 points.

The onslaught didn’t stop there, as the visitors doubled the Hawks in scoring (46-23) in the period, shooting 68 percent from the floor. Atlanta converted only 7 of 24 shots (including 1 of 7 from three) and committed six turnovers, allowing Sacramento’s lead to balloon to 29 and effectively ending any chance at a comeback.

From there, it was academic, with the Hawks unable to produce anything approaching a threat. Kings guard De’Aaron Fox impressively compiled the first triple-double (31 points, 15 assists, 10 rebounds) of his career but, for Atlanta, there were few things to be excited about in a sloppy, blowout defeat.

After an off day on Friday, the Hawks will return to action at State Farm Arena on Saturday night, as the Miami Heat visit for the first match-up between the two teams this season. Stay tuned.