RECAP: Thunder 111, Hawks 109

Bo Churney —  January 28, 2014

FINAL

OKC(36-10) 109 – 111 (23-21)ATL

Key Performers:
K. Durant (OKC): 41 pts, 4 reb, 5 ast, 2 stl, 3 blk
P. Millsap (ATL): 23 pts, 8 reb, 4 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

So… Kevin Durant just isn’t fair. The Hawks had a double-digit lead in this game, but as you may have heard, KD is NOT nice. Durant scored 13 points in the fourth quarter, including the game-winner, to give his Thunder a two-point win at home. The Hawks defended Durant well throughout the game, but the MVP-frontrunner was still able to connect with the bucket and light up the Hawks for 41 points. Still, a great effort from the Hawks — who were without Horford, Teague, and Pero Antic — against one of the best teams in the league.

Reaction grades [assessed 0-10]:

Paul Millsap: With about 35 seconds left or so, Millsap was called for a travel on a drive that probably would have resulted in a go-ahead bucket. Now the travel was a close call, but the bigger issues is that Millsap is getting called for this type of travel (moving his pivot before dribbling) about two times per game. Overall, he had a good game, but this play is becoming an issue for him and it can be argued that it cost the Hawks a victory. 8/10

DeMarre Carroll: DeMarre’s defense was great the whole night and he still got burned by Durant. *repeats unfair statement from opener* He could have been slightly more efficient, as his 7-for-14 performance from the field was littered with easy looks that didn’t go in. My advice to DeMarre is that maybe he should flop next time against Durant when he receives a two-armed push… maybe he’ll get a call then. 7.5/10

Kyle Korver: Strong 14 points, three-board, four-dime night from Kyle, as he extended his three-point streak to 113 games. I would have like to see him shoot the ball more late in the game, but the Thunder did a good job and keeping him from getting open looks when the game was on the line. 7/10

Shelvin Mack: Strong first half for Shelvin… not as strong of a second half. Still a good game overall, as he only turned the ball over one time, but he had a lot of trouble initiating offense in the fourth quarter against a swarming, Ibaka-led defense. 7/10

Gustavo Ayon: Great game from Ayon, who played an almost season-high 26 minutes. Goose had six points, 10 rebounds, and four assists in a strong effort, and it is possible that the Hawks could have used a little more of Ayon late in the game when the Thunder where making their fourth quarter run. 9/10

Elton Brand: Not a very good night from E.B., who missed all four shots that he took. One of those misses was on an absolutely ferocious block by Serge Ibaka. Brand finished the game with five fouls in 15 minutes, which isn’t exactly the best of efforts. 3/10

Mike Scott: 16 points on nine shots and six rebounds off of the bench. Per usual, he wasn’t particularly strong on defense, but his offense was more than enough to make up for whatever he lacked on the other end. 8.5/10

Lou Williams: Not sure if it was all of Lou’s fault, as he probably shouldn’t have been the team’s only ball-handler for stretches of the game, but he didn’t play well. Lou had four turnovers in 23 minutes, which was a result of the aforementioned lack of help in the backcourt. 4/10

Dennis Schröder: Great 13 minutes of play from Schröder, which made it more surprising that Bud left Williams out there by himself at times as the team’s only ball handler. Dennis tied a career-high of 10 points, which he did on an impressive stretch during the second quarter. Important part: no turnovers. Team could have used him more in the second half. 8/10

Mike Budenhozler: Without Jeff Teague and Al Horford, the Hawks lost to one of the best team’s in the league — at that team’s arena — by two point because one of the top two players in the league went nova in the fourth quarter. Even if the lineups could have been tinkered with, it was still a strong effort from the team and the coaching staff to even be in the position they were in. 9/10

Opposition: Kevin. Freaking. Durant. The team as a whole didn’t play well, but when your superstar is playing like THAT, they don’t have to. 9/10

Next: Atlanta vs Detroit, Wednesday, January 29th

Bo Churney

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