It has gone from bad to worse for the Atlanta Hawks, who have now lost five games in a row and 13 of their last 14 games after a 111-97 loss at the hands of the Golden State Warriors. The Hawks, who had the third best record in the eastern conference a month ago, find themselves barely clinging onto the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference after yet another defeat.
Things didn’t look so bad for the Hawks early on, who got their All-Star back tonight. Paul Millsap had missed the teams previous five games with a knee issue, but looked good early on. Millsap had seven early first quarter points in just six minutes. The Hawks only trailed by a point at the end of that first quarter and their 31 points in the first quarter came on an impressive on 13-21 shooting from display from the field. The Hawks looked like they had regained their early season form as well, assisting on 11 of their first 13 shots, but it would go downhill from there.
For the first nine minutes of the second quarter, the Hawks hung tight with the Warriors, but it would all come apart as the Hawks would go the last 3:10 of the first half scoreless, while the Warriors went on a 10-0 run. The Hawks would trail by 14 at the break and never recover. If the game weren’t already out of hand in the fourth quarter, it would have been lost then. It took the Hawks 6 minutes and 53 seconds of game time to score their first points of the fourth quarter, when Shelvin Mack finally made a field goal which cut the Warriors lead to 18.
On a night when it appeared that the Hawks might have actually caught a break, they still could not get anything going. Warriors star guard Klay Thompson went to the locker room just six minutes into the game with an apparent back injury. Thompson would not return, and finished with just six points, however the Warriors received contributions from all over the court. Andre Iguodala, Stephen Curry, Andrew Bogut, Jermaine O’Neal, and David Lee all finished in double figures in scoring and Lee lead the way with a game high 18 points. The Warriors pounded the ball inside to the tune of 66 points in the paint.
The Hawks shot just 8-34 from beyond the three-point land, and the leads-leader in 3 point percentage, Kyle Korver shot just 1-5 from three-point land. On the heals of his record-breaking streak being snapped in Portland at 127 games in a row with a three-point field game made, Korver started a new streak tonight in the Bay, with one game with a three-point field goal made.
Millsap finished with a team high 16 points, but he was held to just 24 minutes in his return to the lineup. The Hawks did not have a player reach the 30 minute mark, on the heals of a back-to-back coming in Los Angeles tomorrow vs the Clippers. The Hawks fall to 26-34, but do not expect the Clippers to have any sympathy on them. The Clippers are 43-20, first place in the Pacific division and beat the Lakers last night by 48 points.