There could not have been a worse place in the NBA for the Hawks to attempt a turnaround to their horrid start to the season. For the last 20 years, it hasn’t mattered what sort of record the Hawks brought to either the Alamodome, the SBC Center or the AT&T Center. The result has been frustration and defeat.
Monday’s game at AT&T Center was no different than the previous 19 trips to the Alamo City, the Spurs (11-6) handing the Hawks (3-14) a 96-85 defeat, this one made doubly exasperating by a gritty second-half comeback from a 14-point deficit that went for naught.
Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge scored 10 of his game-high 22 points in the final 8:08 of the game to secure the victory for San Antonio. Rookie forward John Collins scored 21 points to lead the Hawks. Taurean Prince, who played high school basketball at San Antonio’s Warren High School, scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
Still playing without All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard (left quadriceps tendinopathy) and veteran point guard Tony Parker (right quadriceps tendon surgery), the Spurs pushed to a 14-point lead late in the second half. The Hawks chipped away at the lead through the third quarter and got within a single point on a 3-point basket by Marco Belinelli early in the fourth quarter. It was only to see their effort thwarted by Aldridge and Danny Green. The Spurs starting forwards combined for 16 straight Spurs points in the final 8:08 of the game, 10 for Aldridge, six for Green on back-to-back 3-pointers.
The Hawks got within a point five times in the fourth quarter but could never take a lead.
The Hawks had a horrid shooting night, making only 8-of-30 3-point shots and just 37 of 85 (42.9 percent) for the game.
The last time Atlanta won in San Antonio, Feb. 15, 1997, they were on their way to a 56-26 record, third-best in franchise history. The Spurs would finish with only 20 wins, but would win the draft lottery that would bring them certain Hall of Famer Tim Duncan. His presence brought them five NBA titles, and 18 of their 20 straight home court wins over the Hawks.