The Western Conference All-Stars defeated the Eastern Conference All-Stars 163-158 on Sunday night in Madison Square Garden behind game-MVP Russell Westbrook’s 41-point performance. LeBron James led the East squad with 30 points.
Of course, this is a Hawks blog, so the focus here is going to be how Al Horford, Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap, and Kyle Korver performed over anything else. Despite the loss, it’s safe to say that those four represented Atlanta well and gave the city something to be proud of.
Horford was the first Hawk to enter the game, as he did so with Kyrie Irving about seven minutes into the first quarter. This felt like a surprise, because the general thought was before the game that Budenholzer might insert all four Hawks at once. However, it did not take long for the rest of the Hawks to see the floor, as Teague, Millsap, and Korver joined Horford and Irving on the floor about a minute of game time later. Those four played the remainder of the quarter and we did not see four Hawks on the floor again until the third quarter when they took the floor with LeBron James.
Korver had the most notable performance of any Hawks player, as quick-paced nature of the All-Star game suits his style perfectly. Korver scored 21 points in 16 minutes and was 7-for-12 from 3-point land for the game.
We saw a lot of Teague being tricky, which is usually one of the core tenants of play in an All-Star game. Teague ended up with 14 point on 6-for-9 shooting. Like Korver, Teague also seemed to fit in better with the game than Horford and Millsap, although Horford did have a buzzer-beating dunk at the end of the third quarter and was a team-best plus-11 in the game.
I have to say that I’m disappointed that Horford did not attempt a 3 in the game. This was definitely the time to start pulling up from the top of the key. Come on, Al! If Dirk Nowitzki can slam home an alley-oop dunk, then you can start chucking from the 3-point line!
All kidding aside, it was definitely surreal to see four Hawks with head coach Mike Budenholzer at the All-Star game. It goes to show the progress that this team is made that they are going to be a real threat come postseason.
The Hawks still have plenty of time off for rest, as their next game is not until Friday at home against the Toronto Raptors. There are only 28 games remaining in the season for Atlanta, meaning that .500 ball would time the franchise’s record of 57 wins. Of course, with how the Hawks have played this season, the seemingly mythical 60-win season is definitely in play.