Paul Millsap has been playing like an All-Star since returning from injury last week. Last night, Millsap notched his first career triple-double as the Hawks beat the Toronto Raptors in overtime, 118-113.
Millsap finished with 19 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists.
The game went back and forth constantly. After the Hawks fell behind 22-9 early on, the teams played it close and had 29 lead changes and 12 ties throughout the contest. 10 of the lead changes occurred in the fourth quarter, as neither team could pull away. The winning margin of five points was the Hawks' biggest lead of the game.
All of the Hawks got in on the action. Jeff Teague had 34 points and four steals, and went 11 for 11 from the free throw line. Shelvin Mack and Cartier Martin had eight points apiece, and fueled the Hawks' comeback from the early 22-9 deficit. Kyle Korver added 16 points, including three 3-pointers.
But Millsap filled up the stat sheet tonight. In the seven games since he returned to the active lineup, Millsap is averaging 20.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.1 blocks, and 1.4 steals per game. He has also hit 10 of 28 three pointers (35.7%) - which is pretty good, considering how often Josh Smith would jack up awful three-pointers in preceding Millsap.
(For the record, Smoove is shooting 25% from deep with Detroit for the year. Millsap is at 36.7%.)
For Toronto, DeMar DeRozan led the way with 29 points and 10 rebounds. Kyle Lowry had 20 points, nine assists, and seven rebounds. Unfortunately for the Raptors, the Hawks won the turnover battle, forcing 15 Raptor turnovers while committing just seven, and that helped keep them in the game and fuel the offensive display by Millsap and Teague.
The win was the Hawks' fifth straight after a 1-14 slide. Now, instead of looking in the rear view mirror at the advancing Knicks, the Hawks find themselves in a much more comfortable place with a 4.5 game lead for the eighth playoff spot. Meanwhile, they trail the Raptors by six games for THIRD place in the East with 16 games left to play. While they probably won't move up that high, the compression in the standings mean they have a chance to move up by as many as three spots in all likelihood.
- Indiana, 50-17
- Miami, 46-19, 3 GB
- Toronto, 37-29, 12.5 GB
- Chicago, 37-30, 13 GB
- Brooklyn, 34-31, 15 GB
- Washington, 35-32, 15 GB
- Charlotte, 33-35, 17.5 GB
- Atlanta, 31-35, 18.5 GB
The Knicks are 27-40.
The Hawks will next play the New Orleans Pelicans (27-39) on Friday at Philips Arena.