The San Antonio Spurs and the Atlanta Hawks came into Friday night’s game at Philips Arena like most teams in the NBA at this stage of the season; a little banged up with some players out and others nursing some niggling injuries. Unfortunately Atlanta’s team is not as deep as San Antonio’s and it showed in a lop-sided home defeat for the Hawks at the hands of the Southwest Division-leading San Antonio Spurs 105-79.
The match up really wasn’t ever close as the Spurs started out hot in the first quarter shooting 52 percent from the field while Atlanta could only muster 30 percent. The Hawks fell behind by 13 points at the end of the first and were trying to catch up for the rest of the night.
The second quarter was better for the Hawks shooting as they matched the Spurs at 47 percent from the field. However the Spurs extended their lead to 21 points at the end of the first half by virtue of shooting four of four from beyond the three-point line. Overall for the first half the Spurs shot over 77 percent from outside the arc.
This efficiency from outside stretched the thin Hawks defense and the game’s outcome was effectively over by halftime if not by the end of the first quarter.
While the Spurs are missing several players including Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and Tigo Splitter they were barely missed as those that did play shot almost 49 percent overall and the 61 percent from three point range for the entire game.
By contrast the Hawks could muster only 38 percent overall and just 15 percent from three-point range.
Leading the Spurs was Boris Diaw with 21 points while Tim Duncan had 17 points 16 rebounds and 4 blocked shots. Paul Millsap led the Hawks with 15 points and 8 rebounds.
Compounding the deflating defeat was the injury sustained by Jeff Teague who left the game in the second quarter with a sprained ankle. Teague did not play after that and is expected to miss at least the next two games. He joins a growing list of injured Hawks that includes Al Horfod, John Jenkins, Pero Antic, and Demarre Carroll.
In the post game press conference Hawk head coach Mike Budenholzer complimented the Spurs. “It was a good performance by San Antonio. They did a lot of things well…they played well out of the gate….executing and making shots. It wasn’t a good night for us on either end.”
Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich highlighted the problem for the Hawks. “The Hawks really had a bad night and they had too many guys hurt. It’s tough to compete that way. Even when Al (Horford) went down they stuck with it…now this happens to Jeff (Teague) and (DeMarre) Carroll. There are too many good teams and too much talent in the NBA to lose guys of that caliber.”
Up next for the Hawks is a two-game road swing starting in Milwaukee tonight while San Antonio travels to Miami to take on the Heat.