Hawks get by Warriors in matchup of NBA heavyweights

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon

ATLANTA — If critics still had their doubts about the Atlanta Hawks being the best team in the NBA.

Doubt no more.

Atlanta finished with seven players score in double figures, led by Jeff Teague’s 23 points on 5-of-15 shooting from the field, but shot 11-of-11 from the charity stripe as the Hawks shot a blistering 70.6 percent in the third quarter to take a 124-116 home victory over the Golden State Warriors Friday night in the battle of the top two teams from each conference.

Paul Milsap scored 21 points, Kyle Korver had 17 points (5-of-9 from 3-point range), and Al Horford finished with 12 points and 14 rebounds for the Hawks, who improved to an NBA-best 42-9 and 14-3 versus the Western Conference with the victory.

The lion share of the credit must got to the Hawks’ bench, that really determine the outcome of the game.

Mike Scott scored 17 points, Kent Bazemore had 11 points, and Dennis Schroder finished with nine points but combined to sink 7-of-8 on 3s. The second-best 3-pointing shooting shot 15-of-27 from 3-point range and outscored the Warrior’s bench, 39-32.

“They were good,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr. “They were better than us. We broke down defensively. They had a lot to do with that because of the way they stretch you out.”

The Hawks have won 21 of their last 22 games following a franchise record 19-game winning streak.

After leading 25-21 at the end of the first quarter, Golden State (39-9) just slowed down against Hawks team that improved to 25-3 at home this season, second to Golden State’s 23-2 record at Oracle Arena.

Klay Thompson had a game-high 29 points and Stephen Curry scored 26 points, to go along with nine assist and one turnover.

Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green had 12 points apiece, but Green had a gigantic night on the glass, finishing with a career-high 20 rebounds.

Golden State did have their way with the Hawks in the paint, outscoring Atlanta 58-36 down low. The Warriors even held the edge in rebounding, outrebouding the Hawks 51-38.

But Golden State committed too many turnovers (14), and never overcame the 14-4 run by Atlanta in the final minute of the second quarter after leading 50-47.

Golden State will have another chance at Atlanta when the Hawks visit Oakland on Mar. 18.

The Warriors continue their road trip Saturday night at Madison Square Garden against the Knicks, their fourth game in five nights.

Extra Buckets:

  • The game showcase three of the eight contenders in the Three-Point Contest before NBA All-Star Weekend in New York Feb. 14 in Warriors’ duo of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, and Atlanta’s Kyle Korver.
  • The entire starting five of the Hawks (Horford, Teague, Korver, Milsap, and Carroll) were named Eastern Conference Players of the Month for January, the first time in NBA history that an entire starting five were given the honor. Atlanta finished 17-0 in January, tops in the NBA.
  • Apparently, Curry does not like Teague defending him at all. According to ESPN Stats and Information, Curry shot 3-of-8 on jump shots with Teague as his primary defender. In the first quarter, Curry shot 1-of-6 from the field, his worst of the season. He was 0-of-4 against Teague.

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