The Spurs started the game tonight doing a lot of good things, playing with energy and shooting and hitting more three point shots, but the Hawks turned on their offensive firepower at the end of the first half and the Spurs offense fell off a cliff in the third quarter as Trae Young and the Hawks blew the Spurs out of the gym with hot shooting from all over the court. Dejounte Murray played another solid game for the Silver and Black, and Bryn Forbes had his best scoring night of the season with 23 points, but the inability to keep the Hawks from scoring at will made all of that academic. It was a bad loss for the good guys, and is bound to leave a bad taste in the mouths of the team at tomorrow’s Thanksgiving celebration.
- When I signed up for this game, I forgot it was the day before Thanksgiving. Folks, I’ve got a turkey to cook, so I’m going to be up late tonight prepping the bird.
- Michelle Beadle is starting to get more comfortable in her role, and while I thought the banter between her and Sean Elliott seemed forced and a little too much try-hard, it’s become more bearable. I like her a lot, but she has been kind of hard to watch on some of the pregame shows, and now it seems like both her and Sean are having more fun, and that’s more fun for the viewers, too.
- I like Keita Bates-Diop in the starting lineup. It’s nice to not be immediately exposed on defense because you only have one true big and whenever Jakob has to switch onto a perimeter player there is no rebounding or paint protection. I think that it will be great when Collins is healthy to see if he ever plays in a two big lineup.
- Poor finishes to quarters are a recurring theme with this Spurs squad, and that definitely happened at the end of the first with the Hawks scoring the last 7 to tie it up. The second quarter also ended on a very bad note, and by the end of the third the game was out of reach.
- It was Bill Land’s 70th birthday yesterday, and he’s doing great. I’d be happy if I could be doing that well at 7 decades. Congratulations to him for the great job he does with keeping the broadcasts on target, even with Michelle and Sean going off on crazy tangents.
- I’m looking forward to the Kuzma/Westbrook fashion competition later this season. I honestly think it might be more entertaining than watching them play basketball.
- One of my pet peeves is how Pop almost never uses his coach’s challenges, and that reared its head again near the end of the first half as Poeltl was called for a bogus loose ball foul and the bench didn’t try to overturn it. Maybe they were saving it for later.’
- The Hawks were a terrible road team before tonight. It seemed like that they felt at home in San Antonio tonight.
- Devin Vassell left the game early in the third quarter after landing awkwardly on a rebound, and hopefully he won’t miss a lot of time. He has been the Spurs second best player lately, after Dejounte, and any extended absence is going to make it difficult for the Spurs to break out of their current slump.
- Jakob has looked much better at the free throw line tonight. Even his missed shots look better now.
- Jock Landale got some minutes in garbage time, which started about halfway through the final quarter, and looked OK, scoring 2 and playing solid defense in the paint.
The game started out with a missed dunk from John Collins, but on the following possession, Keldon Johnson showed him how it’s done by driving it to the hole for an easy Spurs score. The Spurs played with a bit of fire to start the game, and there were no easy baskets to be had for the Hawks early as Jakob got his hands on every early shot attempt. With Vassell, Murray and Keldon all hitting triples, the Spurs surged to a 6 point lead. The biggest highlight of the quarter was Eubanks following his missed three-point shot for an easy layup to put the Spurs up 27-20. Unfortunately, in what’s become a repeatable pattern, the Hawks outplayed the Spurs to finish the quarter and it ended up on a 7-0 Hawks run to be tied at 27-27 at the end of one.
The Hawks started off the scoring for the second quarter for their first lead of the game, but the Spurs came back with Bryn Forbes scoring 11 points for the Silver and Black to bring them back in the first part of the quarter. The Hawks offense was not to be be denied as they kept the game even by taking the ball inside and converting Spurs mistakes into Hawks points. Once again, the Hawks closed out the quarter strong, partly fueled by a questionable loose ball foul on Jakob Poeltl that took away a sure Spurs possession, and the Hawks led 65-58 at the half.
Dejounte started off the third quarter with a triple to cut the lead to 4, but Trae Young’s scoring ability and Spurs mistakes gave the Hawks a 20 point lead, as the Spurs couldn’t hit the ocean, and the Hawks hit everything they looked at, and the Hawks led 103-83 after 3, with Lou Williams hitting a wide-open three to end the quarter.
The Spurs scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter, leading to a quick Hawks timeout, up by 13 points. Do you believe in magic? Yeah, me neither, but I really enjoy watching the team show some fight, even if it’s too late to change the outcome of the game. The Hawks weathered the storm, and put the game back out of reach because the Spurs couldn’t get stops, and even though the Spurs improved their scoring late, the lack of defense was a killer as the Hawks closed it out and won 124-106.
What’s Next . . .
For the Hawks fan’s perspective, please visit Peachtree Hoops.
The Spurs record is now 4-13 and after a day off tomorrow to celebrate Thanksgiving with the family, they return to action on Friday to face the Boston Celtics at 7:30 in the AT&T Center. The game will be on KENS-5, so get out your antennae for the local broadcast.
I wish every one of you a happy Thanksgiving, and I’m thankful for all of you, the fans, and my editor, Jolly Roger Wilco and all of the other writers and staff on Pounding the Rock. I’m also thankful for my Spurs, even though I have to admit that it can be frustrating to watch them at times.