The Toronto Raptors came into Atlanta on Tuesday night looking to improve their record at the expense of an Atlanta Hawks team that had only won five of its last nineteen games. But it was the Hawks, with Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague having career nights, who won a tough physical battle to make it six of the last twenty and more importantly five of the last five. The Hawks beat the Raptors 118-113 in overtime at Philips Arena.
To beat the Raptors the Hawks had Paul Millsap record his first career triple double with 19 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists in his 600th NBA game and they also benefitted from Jeff Teague’s career best tying 34 points.
The first half half was notable for pronounced switches in momentum; the Raptors jumped out to an early lead to finish the first quarter up nine points and the Hawks clawed it back in the second so the teams went in at the half tied at 49. The Hawks started out sluggish but in the second quarter got back into the game aided by the fact that Jonas Valanciunas, the Raptors starting center sat for all but 19 seconds in the period.
The second half was much more back and forth; with 22 lead changes of the game’s total 23 taking place.
Both Jeff Teague and Paul Millsap were outstanding all evening with each taking control o fthe game at different times. Teague scored 12 points in the second quarter to steal the momentum form the Raptors. Of Teague’s second quarter, Paul Millsap commented, “That woke us up. Jeff led the way for us. He had an amazing game. He was aggressive and he attacked the basket, and that’s what the team needed.”
While Teague led all scorers on the night with his career-tying 34 points the Hawks also had significant contributions from Paul Millsap with 19 points and Kyle Korver with 16 points.
Millsap recorded his career first triple-double and was quick to attribute his success to the his teammates, “I can’t do it without the team. They knocked down shots, especially for the assists. They gave me some good looks. I knocked down some shots.”
For Toronto, all five starters scored in double figures with DeMar DeRozan leading the way with 29 points.
Toronto head coach noted that it was the Hawks spread offense that did Toronto in, saying “We wanted to keep the three out of the game but (the Hawks) got it involved in the second quarter. They had a 32-point quarter which was huge.”
Kyle Lowry added about Jeff Teague that, “He lived in the paint tonight. He got lay ups and free throws. When you have a quick guy like that, it’s hard for the bigs to come and help me and it’s hard for me to figure out where he’s going. We switched coverages and it worked but he lived in the paint a little too much tonight. That’s my fault.”
With the five-game win streak, the best since 2012 the Hawks are just happy to have put the poor run behind them. Jeff Teague noted, “We’re healthy, and that’s big. We have enverybody back. That’s out biggest thing is staying healthy and trying to play together, and continue to get wins.”
Up next for the Hawks is another home game, this time against the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday. The Toronto Raptors next opponents are also the Pelicans, Wednesday night in New Orleans.