Two games in two nights. Two wins.
The Hawks are playing impressive basketball as they have won four straight with a 112-102 win at the Heat Wednesday. The wins have come after two poor performances in losses to the Cavaliers and Lakers and a fiery film session from coach Mike Budenholzer to refocus the team’s attention on defense.
This has been a different team since.
Jeff Teague led the Hawks with 27 points. Kyle Korver added 18 points, including three 3-pointers that tied him with Glen Rice for 16th on the NBA’s all-time list (1,559). Paul Millsap had 14 points.
Here are five observations from the game:
1. Hawks (11-6) are rolling and clearly one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. They won their fourth straight, the second time this season they’ve had such a run of success. They have also won 10 of their last 13 games. Since the Hawks started the season 5-5, they have gone 6-1. They Hawks remain on the heels of the Wizards in the Southeast Division and in the East, where they currently stand fourth.
2. This time, Teague couldn’t remain on the bench. The Hawks starting point guard sat the final 15 minutes of Tuesday’s win over the Celtics as Budenholzer rode the hot hand of Dennis Schroder. Teague took over in the second half in Wednesday’s win over the Heat. He scored 22 of his 27 points in the second half. He got to the basket time and again. Teague sparked the Hawks’ decisive third-quarter run. The Heat pulled to within a point before the Hawks went on a 16-5 run. Teague’s play didn’t mean Schroder was left out. Teague and Schroder were paired for much of the fourth quarter as the Hawks pulled away. Schroder finished with 16 points in all 12 minutes. Teague scored 12 points in his eight minutes.
“Jeff and Dennis together were able to give us a lot of offense,” Budenholzer said.
3. The Hawks started fast against the Heat despite having to erase a 23-point deficit in a win over the Celtics. The Hawks led 27-18 after the first quarter. They shot 52.4 percent (11 of 21) from the field, including five 3-pointers. All 11 field goals were assisted. They also frustrated the Heat into eight turnovers that led to nine points, the first-quarter margin.
4. The Hawks were able to keep Dwyane Wade in check – for a while. The Heat star did not score in the first quarter. His first basket came with 6:40 left in the second quarter. The Hawks led 40-29 before the Wade basket. He would go on to score 10 points in the quarter as the Heat got as close as two points, 49-47. The Hawks scored the final six points of the half. Wade finished with 28 points to lead the Heat, who never led after the Hawks took a 9-8 lead.
5. The bench stepped up again for the Hawks. They finished with 31 points on 16 of 27 shooting. In addition to Schroder, the Hawks got points from Mike Scott (9), Thabo Sefolosha (7), Shelvin Mack (5) and Pero Antic (4). That was very important in playing the second of back-to-back games.