Hawks, Spurs headed in different ways entering duel

Field Level Media

November 23, 2021 at 11:05 pm.

The Atlanta Hawks look to carry their recent home success with them on the road when they travel to play the reeling San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday in the Alamo City.

Wednesday’s dustup pits two teams heading in decidedly different directions. Atlanta, winners of five straight games, is on the upward trend while the Spurs, losers of a season-high five straight games, are off to their worst start since 1996-97.

The Hawks hit the road after a 113-101 win at home over Oklahoma City on Monday. Atlanta swept its five-game homestand and pulled to .500 on the season as Trae Young racked up 30 points that included five 3-pointers.

Atlanta led by six at the half but dominated the third quarter, scoring the first seven points of the period on the way to a 93-71 advantage by period’s end.

“We really didn’t make any adjustments (in the third quarter),” Hawks coach Nate McMillan said. “I thought our guys just really locked in and played defense. We started to push pressure on the basketball and not let them get in front of us.”

The Hawks had a balanced attack behind Young as Kevin Huerter and Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 13 apiece, John Collins and Danilo Gallinari 11 apiece, and Clint Capela 10 points with 14 rebounds. Collins equaled his career best with five blocked shots.

“To hold any NBA team to 11 points in a quarter just shows you where our minds were at,” Collins said after the win. “We want to keep this energy that we have here and take it on the road.”

That’s been a problem for Atlanta this year. The Hawks have won eight of their nine home games but are only 1-8 on the road.

San Antonio is losing, but it was closer on Monday, shrugging off two of its worst games of the season and taking Phoenix, the league’s hottest team, down to the final seconds before succumbing at home 115-111.

Dejounte Murray racked up a triple-double (18 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds) in the loss. It was his steal and running layup that brought the Spurs to within 114-111 with 15.2 seconds to play before Phoenix was able to hold on.

“It was a good game all night long,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said after Monday’s loss. “We’d go down 10, and we’d come back. We’d go down 10, we’d come back. I’m pleased with the way that we played.

“Obviously, we’d rather win, but we have to understand what we need to do to win. We did a good job. Making a lot of youthful mistakes, but as far as competing and executing, I was proud of them.”

Derrick White led the Spurs with 19 points while Devin Vassell hit for 17 points, Jakob Poeltl had 15 and Lonnie Walker IV added 11 points for San Antonio.

The Spurs own a 56-41 all-time edge against Atlanta, including a 35-14 advantage in games played in San Antonio. The two teams split their games last season, with both winning on the opposition’s floor.

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