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First-quarter turnovers set tone as Hawks lose to Warriors, 128-111

Very few positives in this performance.

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Atlanta Hawks Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

On a day that saw widespread water outages throughout the Atlanta area, the Hawks were able to provide no reprieve for those affected. In a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score indicates, the defending champion Golden State Warriors walked into State Farm Arena and blew the doors off the Hawks by a final score of 128-111.

Things started badly for the home team with yet another shot clock malfunction in a building that’s seen far too many of them. The idea that the most important piece of machinery in an NBA arena is only backed up by a guy with a stop watch and the PA announcer counting down the last five ticks of the 24-second clock continues to amaze. The play on the court was just as disjointed for Atlanta throughout the first quarter as they committed a ridiculous nine turnovers en route to a 34-17 deficit after the first 12 minutes.

The Hawks were going to have their hands full with the Warriors no matter what, but giving away nine possessions in a single quarter was going to make their task essentially impossible. Stephen Curry outscored Atlanta all by himself in the period, putting up 18 points in the period on 4-for-5 shooting from beyond the arc, with a few of those coming in transition after those aforementioned turnovers. As you could guess from the fact that Golden State doubled up Atlanta in the first quarter, essentially nothing went right and everything went wrong for the home team to open the game.

Things were slightly improved in the second quarter for the Hawks; they only turned the ball over five times! Of course, that’s still a terrible number, but hey, it’s better than nine. Nearly half of Atlanta’s 14 first-half turnovers came courtesy of Trae Young, who struggled mightily throughout this game and finished with 20 points, three assists, and seven turnovers for the contest. Atlanta did make a small comeback in the second quarter to push the Golden State lead to single digits, but then the Warriors realized they were the Warriors once again and finished the quarter on a 12-5 run to keep Atlanta at bay. Golden State took a 61-47 lead into the break, led by Curry’s 20 points.

Golden State picked up where they left off in the third quarter, pushing their lead to as many as 24 to truly end any doubt as to who was going to win this game. There were some good moments throughout the first three quarters, but they were so few and far between that the Hawks were never in real contention in this one.

Golden State finished 13-for-17 from the field in the quarter and only let the Hawks stay within 30 points by way of seven turnovers. By the end of the third, the Hawks were down 97-77 and it was a mere formality to play the final period, which finished with the Warriors on the high side by a final score of 128-111.

While the overall team performance was terrible, there were a couple of individual players who acquitted themselves well. Jeremy Lin returned from a two-game absence and didn’t miss a beat offensively, canning five of nine shots from the field and generally continuing his form that has been consistent for about a month now.

John Collins had a strong game as well, posting a double-double with 24 points and 11 rebounds on a very efficient 11-for-13 from two-point range. He did miss the lone three-pointer he took in the game as the Hawks were ice cold in general from outside. Atlanta hit just five of their 26 attempts from distance.

Taurean Prince had a relatively strong offensive game, finishing with 14 points and 3-for-6 shooting from deep. His final attempt of the night could be his final shot for a few games, as Prince was undercut by Shaun Livingston in the fourth quarter and immediately went back to the locker room for examination.

FSSE’s Rebecca Kaple reported near the end of the game that Prince’s X-rays were negative and the Hawks later announced that he suffered a left ankle sprain on the play. His recovery will be worth monitoring as the Hawks reach a slow stretch in their schedule — they play against Washington at home on Wednesday before two off days in Atlanta. Denver comes to town on Saturday, then Atlanta has another three days off before a Wednesday matchup with the Dallas Mavericks. With just three games in the next nine days, Prince will have plenty of time to get himself right without missing too much action.