At approximately 3:32PM, the Hawks were not scheduled to play a game on Wednesday night, according to this Shelvin Mack tweet.
— Shelvin Mack (@ShelvinMack) February 25, 2015
Players later corroborated this story after the team did in fact play a game; Mike Scott was taking a nap and DeMarre Carroll was at the grocery store when the two were later alerted that the game was indeed on.
“They told me the game was off and I got my family and we went to the grocery store,” said Carroll, who finished with 13 points. “We thought we were going to get snowed in. Then I get a text message when I’m in aisle seven pushing the buggy and they tell me the game is on. I had to hurry up. There was a lot of chaos.”
The effect of the late notification showed early on in the game. The Hawks were sluggish out of the gate, shooting 40% in the first quarter while allowing the Mavericks to shoot 64% from the field. The arena suffered four game stoppages in the first period as well, three for clock issues and another when the roof of the arena appeared to be leaking onto the floor.
The short delay and a dunk from Kent Bazemore allowed the Hawks to regroup, as the team came out with a little more gusto to close the first quarter. By the end of the half, the Hawks — though still down by six points — were showing momentum and controlling the Mavericks on defense, even though Monta Ellis and J.J. Barea hit a couple of contested jumpers to keep Dallas ahead.
When the second half started, the Hawks were finally able to take advantage of the absences of Tyson Chandler, Rajon Rondo, and Chandler Parson of the Mavericks. The six-point halftime deficit was quickly converted into a nine-point Atlanta lead after Kyle Korver and Paul Millsap started sinking shots.
“Our aggressiveness to start the third quarter and the players got comfortable with what we were doing and sticking with our basics and activities and our hands and getting turnovers,’ said coach Mike Budenholzer. “I think the energy changed. Dallas is in here on some tough circumstances and we were fortunate that we could turn it.”
After scoring 34 points in the opening quarter, the Mavericks were limited to that scoring total in both quarters of the second half combined. After connecting on five 3-pointers in the first half, the Mavericks were 0-for-14 from behind the arc in the second half. This drop in shooting success allowed the Hawks to completely dominate in the later periods of the game and earn their 45th victory of the season by a 104-87 score.
Al Horford, who became a new father on Tuesday, seemed to be showing early the onus of having a newborn enter the family. Horford missed his first six shots from the field, a few of which were layups in the paint. However, Horford’s passing was there all night (six assists) and he eventually started getting shots to fall, making his his final four attempts from the field.
Dennis Schröder scored a career-high 22 points in the Hawks’ previous meeting against Dallas and he was showing the same form in this game, scoring 17 points in 21 minutes. The Dallas guards kept going under on Schröder when he was running pick-and-rolls and Schröder responded by hitting three 3s and a few pullup 2s as well.
Assuming good weather prevails, the Hawks will face the Orlando Magic on Friday night in Philips Arena. The Magic won their last meeting against the Hawks after Tobias Harris hit a game-winner jumper as time expired. The loss was one of only two the Hawks suffered between November 27 and February 1.