The Hawks lost a nail-biter in San Antonio on Wednesday night, coming up short on the final possession of the game in a 92-90 loss. The loss marks Atlanta’s eighth consecutive loss to the Spurs, who rode their huge rebounding and free throw disparities to the win. The Spurs shot 38 free throws to the Hawks’ 11, though San Antonio left a lot of points at the stripe with 11 misses. The Hawks were down as many as 17 in the first half and fought back to take a late lead, but couldn’t find the winning touch despite a great night from DeMarre Carroll, who had 17 points on 7-for-13 shooting to go along with five rebounds.
The first half went about as poorly as the Coach Bud and the Hawks could have hoped, yet they went into the break down just 10 points after a late run in which all five starters put the ball in the basket in the last 2:31 of the second quarter. The Hawks shot 16-for-45 in the first half, including just 2-for-8 from 3. Kent Bazemore gave the Hawks six minutes off the bench in the first half and provided some good defense on Tony Parker, who had his way otherwise with 13 points in the first half.
Atlanta cut the San Antonio lead to six at the end of the third quarter behind strong play from the bench. Dennis Schröder hit his first field goal of the season off a nice feed from Thabo Sefolosha, and the addition of Sefolosha and Bazemore in the latter half of the quarter really turned up the heat on the defensive side of the ball.
Coach Bud stayed with Schröder early in the fourth quarter, and Dennis paid him back with a huge drive and dunk over Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard. An and-1 for Paul Millsap cut the Spurs lead to two with four minutes left in the game, and Kyle Korver had a wide-open three pointer to take the lead for the first time with 2:34 left but couldn’t connect. Carroll and Al Horford hit back-to-back mid-range jumpers to give the Hawks the lead, but Korver fouled Manu Ginobili on a three-point attempt on the very next possession, giving the Spurs the one point lead with a minute left. The two teams went back and forth before Jeff Teague tied the game at 90 and Ginobili hit two free throws to give the Spurs a two point lead with 3.8 seconds remaining, when the Hawks went full #hwaks and ended up getting a Pero Antic 38-foot jumper blocked by Boris Diaw to seal the loss for the Hawks.
All in all, the Hawks have to be proud of how they fought back from the early deficit and stayed with the game through the Spurs’ runs in the first half. Dennis Schröder was magnificent in the third and fourth quarters with nine points in eight minutes off the bench, and while Hawks fans will point to the free throw disparity as to the reason why the Spurs eked out the win, lack of late-game execution and a questionable Antic-for-Carroll substitution on the final possession were the driving forces behind this loss.
The Hawks’ next games come in a back-to-back set on the weekend, starting in Charlotte on Friday and finishing at Philips Arena on Saturday against the Knicks.