Warriors Survive Late Push from Hawks, Squeak Out 114-109 Win
After beating the Washington Wizards 109-101 on Wednesday, the Golden State Warriors (48-14) traveled to Georgia to take on the Atlanta Hawks (19-43). The Warriors would be looking to continue their hot stretch to open up the second half by beating one of the NBA’s worst teams. Heading into the game, the Atlanta Hawks were the second worst team in the East, just ahead of the Orlando Magic. With a win, the Warriors would extend their winning streak to five, and if the Hawks won, they would extend their winning streak to two games. The Warriors would be wearing their throwback white jerseys, which had not seen any action in well-over a month. Shaun Livingston and Pat McCaw were both out for the Warriors, McCaw with an injury and Livingston with scheduled rest. The Warriors went on to win the game 114-109.
The first quarter began with the Hawks jumping out to a blazing hot start. They nailed three early threes en route to grabbing an early lead. The Warriors were determined to get back into it though, and they did so by lobbing the ball up for Kevin Durant at the rim, as well as drawing fouls. KD had two early alley-oops, the first of which was particularly impressive, as the ball was behind him and he finished with his off hand. The second one was a more standard alley-oop, with Draymond Green tossing up a bullet pass at the rim from beyond the arc, and Durant snagged it and threw it down. Stephen Curry was doing a lot early in the game, making an early layup, as well as five free throws. Klay Thompson was getting defended extremely well by Kent Bazemore early in the game, but he did manage to create some separation and nail a three. The next possession saw Durant break free for an incredible dunk, and that was followed up by an open three from Stephen Curry. JaVale McGee was very active early, blocking a shot, picking up two steals, and converting on a smooth layup attempt. The Hawks managed to stay hot throughout the entire quarter, shooting 60%, and making several high-difficulty shots in the process. The Warriors played just as well though, also shooting 60%. The leading scorers for the Warriors were Stephen Curry and KD, who both had 10 points. Stephen Curry rolled his ankle late in the first quarter and had to leave the game to get it looked at. Dennis Schroeder led the Hawks with eight points, and John Collins was right behind him with seven points of his own. After the first quarter, the Warriors led 33-31.
The second quarter kicked off with an explosion from Nick Young. He hit two threes, after hitting one deep three to end the first quarter. He shot the ball so well that the Hawks had to call a timeout after just over 90 seconds of play in the quarter, and by then, Nick Young had 11 points. The rest of the second-unit looked solid as well, playing good defense and helping to make shots around the rim when Young decided to pass. The Warriors managed to keep their lead, but their defense did begin to slip. They allowed Kent Bazemore to get incredibly hot from beyond the arc, and midway through the second quarter, ha had 14 points and had made 3 threes. While Bazemore was heating up, the Warriors were able to counterbalance that with the return of Stephen Curry. He returned after tweaking his ankle and was lighting it up from beyond the arc. He wound up finishing the half with 25 points, which led the Warriors. Kevin Durant was the next highest scorer with 12, and Nick Young was right behind him with 11. As a team, their shooting fell off a bit down the stretch, but they still finished the half shooting 53.7% from the field, and 47.1% from three. The Hawks cooled down in the second quarter, as their shooting percentage fell from 60% to 45.5%, and outside of Kent Bazemore and Dennis Schroeder, they couldn’t really get anything going. Both Bazemore and Schroeder finished the half with 14 points, and the next highest scorer was John Collins with 7. At the half, the Warriors led the Hawks 62-50.
Stephen Curry got the action started in the third quarter with a three. The two teams traded baskets for a while, but Kent Bazemore then began to heat up again and scored 10 straight points for the Hawks. The third quarter was really just both teams exchanging baskets. Atlanta was doing much better job than the Warriors though, as the Warriors began to turn the ball over a lot. It was a relatively slow third quarter for the Warriors, who scored just 28 points in the quarter. The Hawks managed to put up 34 in the quarter, and three of those came on a last-second half court heave from Dennis Schroder. Stephen Curry left the game in the middle of the quarter, as he began to feel discomfort from the ankle he hurt in the opening quarter, and he would sit the rest of the game. He was still the Warriors leading scorer with 28, and Bazemore led the Hawks with 24 points. After the third, the Warriors led the Hawks 90-84.
The fourth quarter saw the Warriors play exceptionally poorly. They turned the ball over constantly, and were not playing strong defense, which allowed the Hawks to make it a three-point game with less than 20 seconds to play. The Warriors were unable to score in the final two minutes, until Andre Iguodala stole the ball from Kent Bazemore with 10 seconds left and he dunked it to seal the win for the Warriors. The Warriors finished the game shooting 53.2% from the field, and 35.5% from three. The Hawks finished the game shooting significantly worse than the Warriors at 44.2% from the field, but were better from deep, shooting 42.9%. The Warriors held on to squeak out a win over the Hawks, 114-109.
While the Warriors played really well in the first half, committing just eight turnovers in the half while having 20 assists, they really faltered down the stretch. They finished the game with 18 turnovers, which would normally result in a loss. As bad as the Warriors were at controlling the ball, the Hawks were worse, as they turned the ball over 19 times. The Warriors offense also slowed to a crawl in the second half, as they were outscored in both the third and fourth quarter, but that can be attributed to the sudden loss of Stephen Curry, as well as missing Shaun Livingston, who helps run the offense off of the bench.
The Hawks were able to stay in the game with the Warriors due to an unbelievably game from their backcourt. Kent Bazemore finished with a career-high 29 points, and Dennis Schroeder was right behind him with 27 points. The Hawks also benefited from strong performances from John Collins, who had 16 points, and Taurean Prince, who hit five threes. The Warriors offense was paced by Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, who both finished with 28 points. Curry finished with 28 points despite playing just 23 minutes, and sitting out the majority of the second half for precautionary reasons. The Warrior bench was extremely solid tonight, and that was largely due to the impact of Nick Young and Andre Iguodala. Young finished with 16 points, and hit four threes in the process. Andre Iguodala had nine points, two of which came on the dunk that sealed the game for the Warriors.
The Warriors finished their East Coast road trip undefeated, with wins over the New York Knicks, Washington Wizards, and the Atlanta Hawks. The team would be rewarded with a long rest before their next game.
The Warriors play next on Tuesday, March 6, at home against the Brooklyn Nets, at 7:30 p.m.