Warriors Stiff Hawks Despite Thompson’s Early Exit With Back Stiffness

By Matthew Harrington

Golden State received a major scare on Friday night, but the visiting Atlanta Hawks weren’t the ones striking fear into the Warriors, nor scoreboard a factor as it was during the last engagement between the two teams. The Dubs skated to a 111-97 win at Oracle Arena this time out, outscoring the Hawks (26-34) in three of four quarters, a far departure from the 101-100 dramatic win in Atlanta in January. The drama from the evening, however, came six minutes into play when guard Klay Thompson shuffled off the court with a back injury, sitting out the rest of the evening.

The Warriors stated that Thompson, a talent on the cusp on super-stardom, was held out as a precautionary measure. His streak of 211 consecutive regular-season appearances, a franchise record, does not appear to be in jeopardy.  Despite only six minutes of playing time, Thompson still managed a point-per-minute output, going 2-for-5 from the field with a pair of free throws.

David Lee topped the Dubs with 18 points in 25 minutes while Andre Iguodala and Stephen Curry contributed 13 points apiece. Curry lead the Warriors with seven assists, while center Andrew Bogut had a team-high nine rebounds. Golden State (39-24) connected on over half of their bids from the floor, hitting 43-of-80 from the field for a 54.8 shooting percentage. They also out-rebounded the Hawks 44-36.

Forward Paul Millsap had 16 points and seven boards, both highs for the Hawks, after missing the previous five games with a knee injury. Fellow forward Mike Scott added 14 points. Scott also provided the comedy for the evening, losing his shoe put proceeding to make a three-pointer on the play.

The first quarter saw even play as the Warriors closed out the first 12 minutes with a single-point, 32-31 lead. It appeared to be more of the same for the 2nd quarter, with the Warriors grasping to a 48-46 lead five minutes from the half. Atlanta would be held to just six points over the closing 300 seconds to head to the half in a 66-52 hole.

The Hawks outscored the Warriors 25-19 in the third, the only instance of Atlanta outscoring its hosts in a quarter Friday night. The final frame of regulation opened on a down note for the visitors though as they failed to put a point on the board until Shelvin Mack hit a jumper with 5:07 left to play. By then the Warriors held a decisive 97-79 margin, allowing Golden State to withstand an 18-12 Atlanta run over the waning minutes of play to come out victorious.

Friday marked the first home game for the Warriors after their second-longest road trip of the season, a six-game swing that saw them go 4-2 against Eastern Conference foes. In a flip of scheduling, the Warriors will only play two of the remaining 10 games in March on the road. They continue the three-game home set with a tilt against Phoenix Sunday before the Dallas Mavericks come to Oakland Tuesday night. The Dubs, winners of eight of their last ten, currently sit in sixth place in the Western Conference standings and are four games back of the Los Angeles Clippers for the Pacific Division lead.

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