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San Antonio vs. Atlanta, Final Score: Spurs rally past Hawks, 117-111

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The Spurs finally showed some 4th quarter initiative to pull out the win.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at San Antonio Spurs Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Another home game against a lowly East team, another nail-biter, but at least this time the Spurs pulled it out by rallying from 9 down in the fourth quarter for the 117-111 win over the Hawks: a huge one from a standings standpoint.

DeMar DeRozan scored 29 points before fouling out, and Derrick White pulled out of his slump with 23 points, including 11 huge ones during their fourth quarter rally. Alex Len scored 21 for the Hawks, and Kent Bazemore scored 26 off the bench.

Random Observations

  • Both teams started the game with red hot shooting and good ball movement, so much so that all 10 starters had scored by the 7:29 mark for the first quarter. Overall the Spurs shot 13-22 in the quarter, including 4-7 from three. Three of those came from Patty Mills, helping him break out of his three-game slump.
  • Lonnie Walker IV got some tenth-man minutes for the Spurs in the first half in what appeared to be an attempt to spread out playing time with a back-to-back in Denver tomorrow. He instantly made a play with a pass out of a triple team after cutting to the basket to Mills for the corner three. He also got a couple of “rookie” calls on a reach for a steal and slight hand-to-the-back that most veterans get away with.
  • Of course, Trae Young apparently doesn’t have to worry about rookie calls. On the Spurs’ final possession of the first half, DeRozan was called for a charge after Young ran into him, feet still moving, and fell backwards. Replay showed that DeRozan didn’t extend his arm or anything else to warrant an offensive foul call; it should have just been a classic blocking call on Young. Predictably upset, DeRozan picked up his 11th technical of the season, completel with a smarmy grin from noted lover of dishing out T’s, Ed Malloy.
  • In a rarely used form of video review, the refs called a foul on Len late in the second quarter as he was holding LaMarcus Aldridge on a White lay-up attempt. DeRozan got the put-back dunk as the whistle blew, and the refs went to review of the foul occurred before or during the shot. The latter case would have meant the basket was good for DeRozan plus a free throw for Aldridge, but it was ruled before the shot and therefore meant two free throws for Aldridge with no basket.
  • The Spurs appeared to be slowly but surely pulling away from the Hawks as they built multiple 8-point leads with chances to extend it to double figures, but as they are wont to do the Spurs got sloppy and kept allowing the Hawks right back in it, most notably allowing a 23-6 Hawks run spanning the third and fourth quarters for a nine-point lead.
  • In another inexplicable call against the Spurs, a Hawks player (I believe Justin Anderson) dunked the ball off the rim and it flew out of bounds, but the refs gave the ball to the Hawks believing Aldridge had blocked it. That’s the one time a defender doesn’t want to be credited with the block.
  • It was a bad night for the bench, who were outscored 47-24 despite the Hawks missing six players, but the starters came back in midway through the fourth and led the Spurs on a 19-6 run to regain the lead as the young Hawks started settling for bad shots. White led the way with 11 points in the fourth quarter, and overall the Spurs outscored the Hawks 31-21 for the very important win to stay above the Thunder in the standings.
  • In an odd stat, no one besides Aldridge or DeRozan shot free throws for the Spurs. Those two combined to hit 19 of all 22 of the Spurs’ free throws. DeRozan got both the best and worst of the refs’ whistles tonight. He had 16 free throws but also fouled out in the final minutes on his share of iffy calls.

For the Hawks fans’ perspective, visit Peach Tree Hoops.

The Spurs are headed to Denver to take on the Nuggets tomorrow night. Both teams will be on a SEAGABABA. Tip-off will be at 8:00 PM CT on FSSW.