The Hawks again own the best record in the NBA with a resounding 124-116 victory over the Warriors Friday night. The battle of the best in each conference went to the Hawks. Who’s already looking forward to the rematch in Oakland on March 18?
Here are my five observations from the game:
1. I was right and wrong about what would be the difference in the game in my pregame thoughts (some spoken, some written). I said the bench would be the key to victory – and for that I was right. I said the Warriors had that edge – and for that I was wrong. The Hawks’ bench held a 39-32 scoring edge led by Mike Scott (17), Kent Bazemore (11) and Dennis Schroder (9). Here’s the real difference. The advantage was 26-12 in the second half. Scott had 15 of his points in the final two quarters – including back-to-back 3-pointers during a Hawks’ third quarter run.
2. The Hawks’ bench usually has the edge over an opponent as there is not a great drop off when the reserves enter. Against the Warriors, the Hawks were able to keep up the fast pace of the game. It eventually wore the Warriors down. It just took a little longer. DeMarre Carroll said after the game he could tell the Warriors tired late.
3. The Hawks outscored the Warriors 72-64 in the second half. The 72 points were a second half season high for the Hawks. They were also the most points the Warriors had allowed in any half this season.
4. The 3-pointer was another key to the game – but it wasn’t from the Warriors’ Splash Brothers of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. The Hawk shot 15 of 27 from long range (55.6 percent), a season-high for makes against the Warriors this season. The Hawks have made 10 or more 3-pointers in 16 of the past 18 games. Kyle Korver was 5 of 9 and Scott and Bazemore were each 3 of 3. For Korver, it was the ninth time this season he has made five or more 3-pointers, tying a career high done in the 2004-05 season.
5. It was a legitimate sellout at Philips Arena with announced crowd of 19,225. The 400 level was open and full. The engaged crowd was fun. One spectator, who enjoyed an adult beverage or two, had words with the Warriors’ Draymond Green. The player responded with ‘How long have you been coming to games?’ Nice try. Words like that ring hallow these days. See? There is no need to exaggerate the attendance numbers.
Complete coverage of the Hawks-Warriors game: