You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myAJC.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myAJC.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myAJC.com.

Hawks keep adding to list of improbable wins


Add another improbable Hawks victory to the growing list.

The Hawks’ 109-104 overtime win over the Trail Blazers Monday night was the latest example of successful late-game dramatics, many which can only be described as out of the ordinary. Paul Millsap scored with 0.1 seconds remaining to force overtime. The Trail Blazers scored the first seven points of the extra period for what was surely a commanding lead. However, the Hawks scored the final 12 points and escaped with the win.

The Hawks scored just two baskets in overtime but were 8 of 8 from the free-throw line. Millsap made four of his attempts. The Trail Blazers missed their final eight shots and had two turnovers after taking their advantage.

The Hawks (32-23) have rallied or held on in dramatic fashion in nearly one-third of their victories. They are 4-0 in overtime games this season. They were winless in all six overtime games the previous two seasons.

“That’s what we need to win in this league,” Millsap said. “On the other hand, we lost some close games like this. It’s a good thing we are on the winning end of most of them, especially overtime games, but in this league you have to be able to win all types of ways.”

And the Hawks have won in all manner of ways. They have erased 20-point deficits twice. They have erased a 10-point deficit in the final three minutes. They have scored the final eight points of a game all from the free-throw line. They have survived a defensive lapse.

“I feel we grow from those games,” Kent Bazemore said. “I’m an optimist so whenever the time is we start playing well, whatever the moment, we are ready for it. This is what the regular season is for. It’s kind of playoff basketball. The other team has its back against the wall. It’s win or go home. That’s the way you have to play. That’s the way you have to finish the game. I think it’s working in our favor. There are a lot of things we can work on to not be in those situations. But when you are in it, there is no need to be upset about it or pout about it. Just go out and get the win.”

There have been a number of heroes in the late-game dramatics. Dennis Schroder, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Millsap have stepped up in big situations. Recently the Hawks got necessary late-game defensive contributions from rookies DeAndre Bembry at the Rockets and Taurean Prince at the Trail Blazers. Nearly every player on the roster has had a hand in such wins.

“So many NBA games come down to the wire,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “Lots of guys are making plays down the stretch.”

Here is a recap of some of the Hawks improbable wins this season, including six in the past two months.

Hawks 114, Bucks 110: On Dec. 9, the Hawks erased a 20-point first-half deficit for the victory. The Bucks held a one-point lead with 1:51 remaining before the Hawks went on a 7-0 run to take control of a game once thought lost.

Hawks 110, Thunder 108: On Dec. 19, Paul Millsap –as the third option – hit a 10-footer with 12 seconds left for the win. The Thunder had chances at the end as Russell Westbrook missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer and Steven Adams dunked the rebound after the final buzzer.

Hawks 109, Nuggets 108: On Dec. 23, the Hawks scored the final eight points of the game – all from the free-throw line – to erase a seven-point deficit in the final minutes. The Hawks won without Dwight Howard, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Kyle Korver.

Hawks 114, Spurs 112: Jan. 1, Tim Hardaway Jr. hit a 3-pointer with 3.3 remaining in regulation to force overtime. The Hawks got offensive rebounds from Hardaway and Paul Millsap in the extra period to snap an 11-game losing streak to the Spurs.

Hawks 108, Knicks 107: On Jan. 16, Paul Millsap had to block a Derrick Rose layup at the rim after a defensive lapse opened a clear path. The Knicks had two more chances in the final seconds by Carmelo Anthony and Joakim Noah missed off offensive rebounds.

Hawks 119, Bulls 114: On Jan. 25, the Hawks trailed by 11 points in the fourth quarter and 10 points with three minutes remaining. They ended the game on a 19-4 run, including 12 straight points, to steal a victory that only minutes earlier seemed improbable.

Hawks 142, Knicks 139: On Jan. 29, Paul Millsap played a career-high 61 minutes including the final 36 minutes of a four overtime victory. Three other Hawks reached career-highs in minutes played with Tim Hardaway Jr. (58), Schroder (55) and Kent Bazemore (50).

Hawks 113, Rockets 108: On Feb. 2, the Hawks overcame a 20-point fourth-quarter deficit. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 23 of his 33 points in the final quarter. The Hawks ended the game on a 36-11 run.

Hawks 109, Trail Blazers 104: On Feb. 13, Paul Millsap forced overtime with a basket with 0.1 seconds remaining. The Trail Blazers scored the first seven points of overtime. The Hawks answered with the final 12 points of the game, including 8 of 8 from the free-throw line.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Atlanta Hawks

New Hawks GM Schlenk already focused on important upcoming decisions
New Hawks GM Schlenk already focused on important upcoming decisions

Travis Schlenk already is on the job. Although the start date for the Hawks’ new general manager and head of basketball operations is not until June 1, Schlenk arrived in Atlanta on Wednesday. A day ahead of the official announcement of his hire, Schlenk had dinner with head coach Mike Budenholzer. The two met again Thursday morning and have...
NBA legend West endorsed Schlenk for Hawks’ GM
NBA legend West endorsed Schlenk for Hawks’ GM

Travis Schlenk has the full endorsement of Jerry West. That goes a long way. The Hawks announced the hire of Schlenk as the franchise’s new general manager Thursday. The 41-year-old Schlenk arrives after spending the past 12 years with the Golden State Warriors, the past five as assistant general manager. Hawks principal owner Tony Ressler spoke...
Hawks announce hire of Schlenk as new GM (updated)
Hawks announce hire of Schlenk as new GM (updated)

Travis Schlenk will get an early start at his new job. On the same day that the Golden State Warriors begin play in the NBA Finals, the organization’s third consecutive trip to the championship series, Schlenk will take over the Hawks. The Hawks announced the hire of Schlenk as the team’s new general manager and head of basketball operations...
Job 1 for the Hawks and Schlenk: Look to a time beyond LeBron
Job 1 for the Hawks and Schlenk: Look to a time beyond LeBron

The Hawks are set to hire Travis Schlenk, once on Ron Jirsa’s staff at Georgia and lately the assistant general manager with Golden State, as GM. This would mean Schlenk is moving from the NBA West, which the Warriors have ruled for three seasons, to the East. If you’re a GM based in the NBA East, here are your starting points: 1. LeBron...
Hawks close to hiring executive with UGA ties as GM
Hawks close to hiring executive with UGA ties as GM

The Atlanta Hawks are on the verge of hiring Travis Schlenk for their vacant general manager position, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution confirmed. Schlenk currently is the assistant general manager of the Golden State Warriors. The 41-year-old Schlenk has spent the past 12 seasons with the Warriors, including the past five as the assistant to general...
More Stories