Hawks out to rebound and extend Spurs’ 12-game skid

Field Level Media

November 30, 2023 at 12:19 am.

The Atlanta Hawks look to get back on the winning track as they continue a five-game road trip against the reeling San Antonio Spurs on Thursday in the Alamo City.

The Hawks have dropped two straight, and five of their past seven games, while playing the first three games of the road trip.

Atlanta heads south after a 128-105 setback in Cleveland on Tuesday as Bogdan Bogdanovic and De’Andre Hunter scored 18 points apiece.

Saddiq Bey and Clint Capela added 14 points each for the Hawks while Trae Young had just 13 points on 3-of-14 shooting that included 2 of 8 from beyond the arc. Atlanta led by 10 points in the first half but trailed 64-61 at the half and was held to just 15 points in the fourth quarter.

“I think it’s important for us to see how we played early in the game,” Atlanta coach Quin Snyder said. “We weren’t perfect but we did some good things and we have to do them smarter and for longer. I don’t think it’s any one thing, just our collective execution.”

Capela said the Hawks need to sustain the effort they had early on. “Yeah, it was just hard,” he said. “We weren’t able to recover the way we wanted, especially when you play away and the opponent starts getting confidence.”

The Hawks played their second consecutive game without Jalen Johnson, who will be sidelined four to six weeks with a left wrist fracture.

While Atlanta plays for the fourth time in six days, the Spurs will be fresh after three days off. San Antonio has dropped 12 games in a row.

The Spurs haven’t played since a 132-120 loss at Denver on Sunday. Victor Wembanyama led San Antonio with 22 points and 11 rebounds, a season-high six steals and four blocks in just 25 minutes. Wembanyama is the first player in NBA history to reach those totals in fewer than 35 minutes played.

“I like bringing something new to the game and I’m glad I can already put my name in history a little bit,” Wembanyama said. “It’s a good feeling. I’m a student of the game and the best gratitude I can have is having the chance to push it, to take it up a little bit, to make it even better.”

Devin Vassell scored 19 points for the Spurs, Malaki Branham added 15, Julian Champagnie hit for 13 points and Keldon Johnson and Tre Jones scored 10 each.

Vassell came off the bench for the third consecutive contest after missing three games with a groin injury. “We just want to preserve his minutes,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.

The balanced scoring could not keep the Spurs from ending their skid, a losing streak that is the third longest in franchise history after last season’s 16 straight outings with a loss and the 13 consecutive games dropped in 1988-89.

San Antonio trailed by a dozen points at halftime but by just 74-67 midway through the third quarter. Denver put away the game with a 16-4 run, led by 23 heading into the fourth, and the Spurs never challenged in the final period.