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Hawks trending upward with dominant win over Grizzlies

The trend is upward.

The Hawks moved with a game of fourth place in the Eastern Conference after a dominant 107-90 victory over the Grizzlies Saturday night at FedEx Forum. The Hawks victory, coupled with the Raptors loss to the Heat, moves them closer to hosting a first-round playoff series.

The Hawks (37-29) won their third straight overall, including a tiebreak clinching win over the Raptors Friday, as they led by as many as 26 points. The win came with starting center Dwight Howard out of the lineup for rest and was the third straight over the Grizzlies. The teams meet again in Atlanta in five days.

The win also moves the Hawks to 7-1 against the Western Conference’s Southwest Division, including 4-0 on the road. The Hawks play at the Spurs Monday.

Paul Millsap led the Hawks, who never trailed in the game, with a double-double of 16 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. Taurean Prince (17), Dennis Schroder (16), Kent Bazemore (15) and Jose Calderon (14) also scored in double digits for the Hawks. Prince’s point total was a career-high for the rookie, who also had three rebounds and two assists. Schroder had eight assists and seven rebounds in 29 points after not playing in the fourth quarter.

The Grizzlies (36-30) lost their fifth straight game. JaMychal Green led the team with 20 points and 10 rebounds. The Grizzlies were 5 of 29 from 3-point range.

The Hawks led by as many as 20 points in the first half when they took a 40-20 lead early in the second quarter. The Grizzlies answered with a 15-2 run to make in a seven-point game. The Hawks went 7:23 without of field goal in the second quarter after Prince hit a 3-pointer with 7:49 left and Schroder scored on a layup with 26 seconds left. The Hawks took a 47-35 lead into halftime after Tim Hardaway Jr. hit a 3-pointer in the final seconds. Hardaway got a rebound when James Ennis III blocked a Schroder layup after a Millsap steal.

The Hawks shot 67 percent (12 of 18) for 33 points in the first quarter but only 24 percent (4 of 17) for 14 points in the second quarter. The Grizzlies’ 35 first-half points tied the season low by a Hawks opponent through the opening two quarters this season.

The Hawks regained control of the game with a 20-8 run to start the third quarter. Bazemore had 10 points in the stretch, including the first eight points of the period.

Hardaway had his streak of consecutive double-digit scoring games snapped at 20.

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