Win on the road? No problem for these red hot Hawks.
The Hawks won their fifth straight Friday night with a 98-75 victory over host Nets. The win streak, which matches the longest of all last season, includes back-to-back road wins with Wednesday’s win at the Heat.
The Hawks (12-6) improved their road record to 4-4. They also kept pace with the Wizards and remain third in the Eastern Conference.
Here are my five observations on the victory:
1. The Hawks couldn’t have started much slower. They shot just 27.3 percent (6 of 22) in the opening quarter and missed several easy shots – including layups by DeMarre Carroll, Dennis Schroder and Pero Antic. The Nets weren’t much better and led 18-16 after one period.
And then it all changed – drastically.
The Hawks outscored the Nets 36-13 in the second quarter. They shot 66.7 percent (12 of 18). They opened the period on a 21-4 run in which the Nets missed 13 of 14 shots. By the time the quarter was over the Hawks took a 52-31 advantage into intermission. Remember earlier this week the Hawks held back-to-back opponents to 28 first-half points.
2. It was the Hawks defense that was largely responsible for the second-quarter run. As Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer desires, the defense fueled the offense. The Hawks forced the Nets into six turnovers in the quarter that led to eight points. Jeff Teague had clean steals on back-to-back plays that accentuated the performance. By halftime, the Nets had nine turnovers and led by as many as 21 points.
3. Carroll was on fire in the second quarter. He scored 14 of his 18 points in the period, including 4 of 4 from 3-point range. One of those 3-pointers came at the second-quarter buzzer. Carroll also had six rebounds, one assist and one block in just 25 minutes. He and the Hawks starters were done for the night midway through the third quarter.
“He shot lights out,” Paul Millsap said after the game of Carroll.
4. The Hawks harassed Nets All-Star Joe Johnson defensively with Carroll and Thabo Sefolosha doing most of the work. They held the former Hawk to 12 points on 4 of 8 shooting. Johnson played just 29 minutes and the Nets put up the white flag when the Hawks upped their lead to 30-plus points. The 75 points were a season-low for the Nets.
5. The Hawks made good from 3-point range. They finished 13 of 34 (38.2 percent) from behind the arc. Carroll’s four 3-pointers paced the Hawks, who had seven different players score from long range. The Nets were just 3 of 18 (16.7 percent) from 3-point range.