That is the word of the night as the Atlanta Hawks fell in buzzer-beating fashion to the Golden State Warriors by a final score of 101-100. With 2.8 seconds remaining and the Hawks leading 100-98, Golden State inbounded to star guard Stephen Curry, who navigated the peril of a double team and found Andre Iguodala, who subsequently knocked down an improbable, 26-foot three-pointer that sent Hawks fans home with a devastating loss.
The wheels came flying off in the 4th quarter for the Hawks, as Golden State scored an incredible 37 points in the final frame. Golden State’s biggest push of the night came on a 20-4 run over 4 and a half minutes in the 4th, as they erased a 15-point deficit in what seemed like a blink of the eye, and put themselves in position to steal the win. Paul Millsap was able to silence the run with 4 enormous points in a row, but the Hawks scored only 1 more point over the final 3 possessions, and it simply wasn’t enough.
In the decisive quarter, Golden State shot a blistering 14-for-22 from the field overall (63.6%) and they were able to generate 18 points in the paint against a Horford-less frontline. In addition, Steph Curry emerged from what was an ugly performance for 36 minutes, and he showed why he is one of the top players in the NBA. Curry finished the 4th with 14 points, 5 assists, and 5 rebounds, and while he didn’t convert the game-winner, the attention paid to him certainly made it possible.
Offensively for Atlanta, it was a struggle for much of the night, as the big guns were mostly silenced. The aforementioned Millsap had his first “off” night in some time, finishing just 3 for 14 from the field for 12 points, and while he did grab 11 rebounds, it was certainly not his finest evening. The Hawks did place 6 different players in double-figures, but the bright spots were of the semi-unlikely variety, and while the team finished with decent shooting numbers, it was mostly underwhelming against a quality defense.
This was, unquestionably, the best game of Pero Antic’s career in Atlanta, and it showed on the stat sheet. In his first ever start, Antic scored a career-high 16 points (on 6-9 FG, 4-6 3-point) and pulled down a career-high 7 boards in 27 minutes, and he was the shining light of the evening despite some controversy surrounding his choice to double Steph Curry on the game’s final possession (which he took responsibility for). Pero’s excellent night was flanked by 15 points, 4 assists, and 3 steals from Shelvin Mack (who admirably defended Steph Curry), and a 12-point, 4-steal day from DeMarre Carroll in his first game back from a thumb injury.
Kyle Korver extended his NBA-record streak of consecutive games with a 3-pointer to 102, and he did so on the first possession of the game. Korver answered a game-opening triple from Golden State’s Klay Thompson with one of this own at the 11:30 mark of the 1st quarter, and any suspense about the record quickly vanished into thin air. It was a “light” day for Kyle otherwise, scoring just 5 points on 2-for-7 shooting and 1-for-5 from three, but the streak is very much alive despite the loss.
Coach Budenholzer was quick to praise the defensive effort from the team in his post-game comments, and I wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment. It’s easy to forget (especially in the midst of a 15-point lead being blown in the final 6 minutes) that this was a game that Atlanta was supposed to lose against a quality Western Conference team, and holding GSW to 44.8% shooting from the field and 22.2% is exceedingly admirable.
Now, the Hawks have a very quick turnaround, as they travel to Chicago this evening in order to square off with the always physical Bulls on Saturday night. Stay tuned for all of the coverage from that game.