Photo credit: @warriors
By Jerry Feitelberg
The Golden State Warriors returned home to face the Atlanta Hawks Tuesday night at Oracle Arena. The Warriors, still missing Steph Curry, had to face the young Hawks team minus their All-Star forward Draymond Green. Green and Kevin Durant had a verbal confrontation last night late in the game against the Los Angeles Clippers. The dispute spilled over into the clubhouse and was still not resolved on the flight home. The Warriors’ management suspended Green without pay for one game. The reason given was that Green had “committed conduct detrimental to the team.” The Warriors had to come back from the loss to LA and regroup. They did not play well in the first half, but played Warrior basketball in the second half to outlast the Hawks 110-103.
The Hawks, who are in rebuild mode, hired Lloyd Pierce as their coach after Mike Budenholzer resigned. Budenholzer had the worst year of his career with Atlanta last season and moved on to coach the Milwaukee Bucks. Pierce inherited a young team with players that are not yet well-known in the league. The Hawks do have on their roster two former Warrior players: Kent Bazemore, and Jeremy Lin. Another familiar name is the 41-year-old veteran, Vince Carter. The Hawks feature rookie Trae Young, who came into the game averaging 18 points per game. Taurean Prince and Alex Len are two names that are not well known in Oakland, but both players performed well against the Warriors Tuesday night.
The Hawks frustrated the Warrior offense in the first quarter as they held the Warriors to just 20 points. They outscored the Warriors by three to lead 23-20, and the fans in the stands were starting to squirm as the Warriors’ offense sputtered through most of the game Monday night in Los Angeles. The two teams scored 29 points in the second quarter, and the first half ended with Atlanta ahead 52-49. The Hawks held the Warriors to just 39.5% shooting from the floor. Durant led the offense with 15. Klay Thompson, who scored 7 in the first half against LA, was held to 9 points Tuesday night. Jonas Jerebko hit two three-point shots and finished the half with 8. Quinn Cook had 7, and Jordan Bell added 6. Atlanta was led by Carter and Prince. Each player had 11. Alex Len had 8, Bazemore 7, and Deandre Bembry kicked in with 8.
Warriors’ head coach Steve Kerr must have told the team to get their act together and play Warrior basketball during the halftime intermission. The third quarter started with Atlanta increasing the lead to five 54-49. With Atlanta, ahead 58-55, the Warrior offense came to life as they went on a 17-2 run to grab a 10-point lead 70-60. The Hawks refused to bend, and they were to end the third quarter trailing by six 82-76. The Hawks still had a chance to upset the Warriors.
The Warriors were determined not to lose. The offense was sparked by Thompson, Durant, Cook, Jonas Jerebko, and Andre Iguodala. The Warriors expanded the lead to 14 101-87, but had to hold on for dear life as Atlanta kept coming back. The Hawks cut the deficit to five 106-101 with 1 minute and 41 seconds left to play. Durant scored the next 4 points, and the Warriors held off the Hawks 110-103
Game Notes and Stats: With the win, the Warriors improve to 12-3, while the Hawks’ record drops to 3-11.
Kevin Durant paced the Warriors with 29 points, 6 boards, and 3 assists. Jonas Jerebko had a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds, which was a career-high. Jerebko knocked down four 3-point shots. Klay Thompson finished with 24. Quinn Cook had 18.
The Atlanta attack was led by Taurean Prince’s 22 points. Alex Len had 14, Bazemore 18, Bembry 13, Carter 11, and Jeremy Lin 10. The Hawks’ outstanding rookie, Trae Young, was held to just 4 points.
The Warriors finished the night shooting 42.9% from the floor. They made 12 three-point shots in 27 attempts.
Up Next: The Warriors head to Texas for 3 games in 4 nights. They start the trip with against the Houston Rockets Thursday at 5:00 pm PT. They’ll then play Dallas on Saturday at 5:30 pm PT and the San Antonio Spurs Sunday at 4:00 pm PT.