It isn’t often that any offensive records of the season, career, or all-time NBA variety are set in an NBA game, but the Hawks managed to achieve all three (plus a rare arena mark) in blowing past the Sacramento Kings, 124-107, on Wednesday night.
For three quarters, it appeared as if the Hawks were going to be in a complete nail-biter with the Kings, but once the scoreboard clicked to the 4th quarter, the flood gates opened. Atlanta outscored Sacramento 39-20 in the final frame, and when Mike Scott and Shelvin began the 4th-quarter scoring with 10 points in less than 2 minutes, things just kept rolling until the final stats leapt off the page.
The Hawks finished the night with a staggering 38 assists on 47 made field goals, and while it wouldn’t surprise you to learn that the 38 dimes set a season-high for the Hawks, it was also noteworthy as the Philips Arena record for the franchise (according to Hawks PR). Under Mike Budenholzer, the team assists numbers have flown through the roof, but no other showing has even approached Wednesday night, and the ball movement and passing were certainly in key in the crazy shooting numbers.
Atlanta finished the night having shot 58% from the floor (47 of 81), and an even scarier 60% (15 of 25) from beyond the 3-point arc. Sharpshooter Kyle Korver continued his NBA-record streak of consecutive games with a 3-pointer when he knocked down his first triple at the 7:39 mark of the 1st quarter, but Kyle was far from done. On the night, Korver matched his career high with 8 made threes (on just 10 attempts) and also set his season-high for points with 28. It was yet another example of the incredible dynamic that Kyle brings when he has things going, and his mere presence makes the unit so difficult to defend.
In addition to Kyle’s incredible stat line, the Al Horford-Jeff Teague duo was on full display with statistical assaults of their own. Al Horford put up 25 points (on 12-19 FG), 10 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 blocks on the night, and it was just the 3rd time in Al’s career that he was able to eclipse the 25-10-5 mark. Horford was also the best (read: only) defender who was even able to curtail DeMarcus Cousins (who was dominant at times with 28 points, 7 boards, 6 assists), and despite the fact that Al is never flashy, he was extremely potent.
As for Teague, he was borderline incredible at times. Atlanta’s point guard tied his career-high with 15 assists on the night, and openly flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 18 points (on 6 of 11 shooting) and 8 rebounds to go with the dimes. Jeff was able to prod the Sacramento defense with great effectiveness, and he took full advantage of the diminutive Isaiah Thomas at times, getting off a flashy array of floaters and close-to-the-rim finishes.
It was extremely fitting that tonight’s 124-point output was Atlanta’s season-high in points, simply because the offense was completely dominant at times. It’s certainly fair to say that it was far from a perfect all-court effort from Atlanta, as they did allow 107 points (in an efficient manner) to an inferior Kings team, but the fact that the offense excelled at this level and the rebounding margin (against a much bigger team) swung in Atlanta’s favor, 44-33, is a testament to just how well the team played.
In the midst of the craziness, it would be easy to forget the contributions of guys like DeMarre Carroll (15 points on 6-for-9 shooting and a +22) and the aforementioned Mike Scott (10 points in 19 minutes, highlighted by his ignition of the 4th quarter fireworks), but this was another total team effort. It seems to be a running theme for this year’s edition of the Hawks, but that “Spurs-ian” concept from Mike Budenholzer has certainly infected this roster, and when it’s all clicking, it’s an absolute pleasure to watch.