Atlanta and San Antonio entertained the viewing audience with a frenetic and hotly contested battle throughout the first 2 1⁄2 stanzas with a handful of lead changes before the Spurs were done in by a thousand ‘cuts’ of Hawks dunks, unforced turnovers, and spotty offensive execution after a hot start in their 12th straight loss.
The Spurs welcomed back Keldon Johnson, Tre Jones, and Jeremy Sochan to the starting line-up and stormed out of the gates to stake an early lead. So much action and offensive execution occurred in the opening frame, but a flurry of turnovers and foul trouble to their already-impacted bigs allowed the Hawks to soar ahead of San Antonio in the first behind DeAndre Hunter’s dozen.
While Johnson (Keldon) and Sochan continued to do damage for San Antonio, Trae Young woke up out of a slumber late in the opening half to keep Atlanta just enough in the lead. Atlanta’s starters took advantage of a poor shooting third period by the Spurs to the tune of 32-17 and salted away the game with time to spare. Both teams combined to shoot a pedestrian 21 for 63 (33%) from beyond the arc.
In the Spurs’ third Rodeo Road trip game, Johnson (25 points) and Sochan (18 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists) led the way with scarcely notable support from the rest of the supporting cast.
For the host Hawks, who had all starters in double-digits, Trae Young (24 points and 17 assists), Hunter (24 points and 5 rebounds), and Dejounte Murray (18 points and 7 rebounds) provided the necessary output and leadership for the victory.
- A SEGABABA after a double-overtime thriller? BRING IT ON!
- First, checking my twitter timeline - did I really predict a 13-69 record for this Spurs squad?
- Murray resembles a bizarro unbridled version of Keldon Johnson’s sophomore season out there.
- Gorgui Dieng may be in the top seven of all-time Genuinely Likable Spurs.
- There is a Hawk logo behind the baseline seats! SQUEAL. The Pacman logo is awesome.
- Malaki Moments: His decision making is so impressive - midway through the second frame, he didn’t feel it on a catch-and-shoot initially. Then he came off of a pick and nailed a stepback three in rhythm to double San Antonio’s lead.
- Sequence of the Game #1: Early in the second period, Collins erased a Bojan Bogdanovic floater, and after a series of Spurs’ passes in transition, ran the floor and laid in a bunny. Collins added a steal on the Hawks’ next possession to boot.
- Sequence of the Game #2: Late in the first half, Collins found Sochan at the rim for a lob dunk reminescent of Duncan and Robinson’s antics.
- Keldon’s Kitchen: One spicy ingredient he added - late in the first half, it looked like he would drive all the way to the rim, but he found a sweet spot in between several Hawks defenders, and did a jumpstop and floated the ball in. Despite the daunting pile of losses, it’s heartening to see him still competing.
- Devonte’ Graham - (small sample size) the perfect offspring of 2003 Stephen Jackson, 1995 Dale Ellis, and 2013 Danny Green. I love that he appears to be a willing passer, too.
- For those of us still recovering from the trade deadline, doesn’t Patty Mills need to come home soon?
- Sochan scored on all three levels for a promising start in the first. Clint Capela hit the offensive boards and detonated from the dunker spot to back up DeAndre Hunter for Atlanta’s first handful of scores. The breakneck pace was scintillating and alarming at the same time with 29 total points in the first five minutes. Zach Collins picked up two quick whistles in the opening moments. Dominick Barlow also picked up two fouls minutes later. Graham’s first two shots found their mark. Sochan took an outlet coast-to-coast for a Hawk-like jam to close the Spurs within 31-32.
- A Jones floater nudged San Antonio briefly out front. The teams then exchanged leads liberally over the next minutes. Though Young and Murray had been quiet, Young’s second three and Hunter’s freebies pulled Atlanta within two. Capela picked up what seemed like the Hawks’ tenth dunk, as well. Johnson (Keldon) and Young exchanged pretty floaters. Barlow recovered from a ghastly turnover to score a late bucket, but a Young score gave Atlanta the lead at the break 61-60.
- The Hawks starters bullied and hustled their way into a double-digit advantage to start the third as San Antonio continued to pile up the turnovers. It only seemed like they fumbled away tons of loose caroms out of bounds or dribble possessions in the paint. Murray paired a pretty three with a tough lay-up to keep the Spurs at bay. Atlanta exited the frame up 16.
- Johnson (Stanley, Flat) nailed a three and Johnson (Keldon) willed a floater home to start the fourth, providing a slight glimmer of hope, but Atlanta continued to get whatever they wanted at the other end. After yet another transition score, Michelle Beadle quipped “What just happened.” The one positive was that both teams left the fourth quarter injury-free.
For the Hawks fan’s perspective, please visit Peachtree Hoops.
San Antonio heads back north to take on Donovan Mitchell and the resurgent Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night at 6:00 PM CDT.