Weekend Wrap Up/ Monday Preview
It was a great weekend for Atlanta, as they have struggled to put together a winning streak since the streak in January, as they pull out two win Friday and Saturday to a Lowry-less Toronto team and the Memphis Grizzlies. Dennis Schroder led the way with 26 points, Millsap followed with 21 and Tim Hardaway Jr with 20. Hardaway received the start after Thabo Sefolosha reportedly showed up late to the arena and wind up playing his usual 25 minutes off the bench.
Dennis Schroder lifted the Hawks as he scored 10 of 12 fourth quarter points in an important stretch. This was a complete back and forth game with the biggest lead being 4 until the Hawks pulled away in the final two minutes. A duo we will be hearing more of is Jose Calderon and Ersan Ilyasova because of how fluid they have appeared to look in such short time. They both have looked well in their new roles providing leadership and floor spacing off the bench, Calderon having his best game Saturday vs Memphis.
Dwight Howard was held out for rest on Saturday in what was the second game of a back-to-back after the Hawks beat Toronto 105-99 on Friday night in Atlanta, clinching the tie breaker between the two teams. Howard missed his sixth game this season and his third for scheduled rest.
The Atlanta Hawks (37-29) won their third straight overall and was the third straight over Memphis, in which Taurean Prince scored a career-high 17 points, Paul Millsap had 16 points and 11 rebounds and Dennis Schroder added 16 points to lead the Hawks.
After pulling away from the Grizzlies late in the first quarter behind a 12-0 run, the Hawks were never threatened. They led 33-15 after the first quarter and spent the remainder of the game except for a brief period before the half enjoying double-digit leads that eventually reached 26 points.
“We just kept our foot on the gas,” said Hawks swingman Kent Bazemore, who added 15 points for Atlanta. “Our defensive intensity stayed where it needed to be and we kept getting stops and eventually our shots started falling again and we pulled away.”
“We settled for a lot of jumpers in the second quarter and we weren’t driving the ball,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “At halftime, one of the messages was to drive more and move the ball more. In the third quarter, Baze got a couple of looks and got a couple of drives and Dennis found some open guys. I think that was the difference.” The teams meet again in Atlanta on March 16.
With Budenholzer being trained in San Antonio, he knows he will likely not know who takes the floor just hours before tip-off, so game planning will be difficult, as if it wasn’t already. Leonard missed Saturday’s game against the Warriors and is at risk for being sidelined for a second consecutive contest due to concussion-like symptoms. His availability for Monday will likely be determined in large part whether or not he can pass concussion protocol prior to the game. Parker will miss his third consecutive outing Monday due to back stiffness, and there is no specific timetable on Aldridge’s return.
The Hawks beat San Antonio 114-112 in overtime in Atlanta on New Year’s Day in the first meeting this season between the two teams. The Spurs have defeated Atlanta 18 straight times in San Antonio, dating back to 1997 at the Alamodome. The Hawks have never won at the AT&T Center, the Spurs’ current home, in the Tim Duncan Era.