The Atlanta Hawks fought valiantly, but were unable to overcome a slow start versus a historically dominant Golden State Warriors team, losing 102-92.
To beat arguably the best team to hit the hardwood in the NBA in 20 years in the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors, an opponent will have to bring their A game to the court. While the Atlanta Hawks played well at home against the Golden State Warriors, a slow start proved too costly for Atlanta to pull off the upset, falling to Golden State, 102-92.
With that win, the Warriors are the fastest team in the history of the National Basketball Association to reach 50 wins, as they move to 50-5 on the year through 55 games. However in defeat, that means that the Atlanta Hawks have lost four straight games at home and five of their last six contests, as they continue to slide in the Eastern Conference Standings.
The shame in it all was that the Atlanta Hawks played very well in defeat, crushing the Warriors in the third quarter to nearly overcome a 20+ point deficit. Then again, it’s hard to win when the Splash Brothers of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combine for 63 of the Warriors’ 102 points.
Atlanta was able to keep things interesting with five different players in double figures scoring to the Warriors’ three of Curry, Thompson, and Harrison Barnes. Al Horford led the way for the Atlanta Hawks with 23 points, 16 rebounds, six assists, five blocks, and three steals in his fantastic ball game. While Atlanta did end up losing this game, this was Horford’s best performance in well over a month for the Hawks, as he was dominant.
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Jeff Teague had 16 points on 5-12 shooting, six assists, a steal and a block. Paul Millsap had 11 points, seven rebounds, an assist, a steal and a block. Millsap is still able to hit double figures most nights, but has to do it with high volume shooting, as his shooting percentage is starting to slip since making his third straight trip to the NBA All-Star Game.
Off the Atlanta Hawks bench, Dennis Schroder continues to grow as a point guard with 18 points on 8-12 shooting, to go along with six assists and three rebounds. While Atlanta has struggled of late, Schroder has been impressive coming off the Atlanta bench in running the second unit’s offense.
Tim Hardaway, Jr. continues to learn and grow in head coach Mike Budenholzer’s system, as he had 12 points on 5-9 shooting, with two rebounds, a steal, and an assist. Hardaway played 25 minutes and 40 seconds for the Atlanta Hawks Monday night and led the team in plus/minus with +17. It’s easy to say that Tim Hardaway, Jr. is firmly part of the Atlanta Hawks’ bench rotation in the second half of the 2015-16 NBA season.
Although he didn’t record a single point for the Atlanta Hawks in their home loss to the Golden State Warriors, let’s not forget about Mike Scott who had 11 rebounds and an assist playing bigger minutes now that Tiago Splitter is out for the season with a hip injury. Scott is becoming a more complete player for the Hawks in 2015-16 and is proving that he can do more than take heat checks from three. Atlanta will have to count on him come playoff time.
Overall, the Atlanta Hawks are not in a good place after their third straight loss since the NBA All-Star break. However, there were many positive takeaways from this game against the Golden Warriors. Not even elite teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Oklahoma City Thunder, or the San Antonio Spurs can beat the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors regularly.
Atlanta will have to figure out how to play with that high energy level displayed in the third period when the Hawks take on the Chicago Bulls Friday night at Philips Arena. Given that both the Atlanta Hawks and the Chicago Bulls are struggling of late, it’ll be interesting to see who has the upper hand in that game. Let’s Go Hawks!