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.

How Hardaway-led Hawks won yet another in dramatic fashion


Five observations from the Hawks’ 113-108 victory over the Rockets Thursday night, a game in which they erased a 20-point fourth-quarter deficit.

1. Timmy Time. The Hawks guard went off in the fourth quarter to lead his team to another dramatic victory. It was the second game this season they erased a 20-point deficit.

Hardaway scored 23 fourth-quarter points, making 8 of 11 shots, including three 3-pointers. His dramatics made for a boisterous postgame locker room and teammates willing to fetch him anything he needed or wanted. Kent Bazemore offered to fix him a plate of food. Dennis Schroder brought him deodorant. The last Hawks player with 20 or more points in a quarter was Joe Johnson in the fourth quarter on Nov. 14, 2008 with 21 points at New Jersey.

Hardaway deflected much of the praise directed his way following the game.

“Obviously Tim Hardaway was special on offense,” coach Mike Budenholzer said.

2. Hardaway may have understated his offensive performance with his thoughts about DeAndre Bembry. The rookie was on the floor for all but 14 seconds of the fourth-quarter comeback and drew the defensive assignment of James Harden.

“What was working was DeAndre Bembry,” Hardaway said when asked about his offense. “You have to give him all the credit. A rookie, he was very special for us tonight. Taking the challenge of guarding possibly the MVP of the season. It’s a hard task. He stayed disciplined throughout the entire game, learned from his mistakes and didn’t make the mistakes when it was key in the game. You have to give him all the credit.”

Harden scored just six of his game-high 41 points in the fourth quarter. Twice earlier in the game, Harden suckered Bembry into fouling him on a 3-point attempt.

Lesson learned.

“Keep your hands away from him,” Bembry said. “When he does it, he does a whole lot of wrapping and grabbing. The refs are going to give him that call. He got two three(-shot fouls) on me like that. You have to keep playing and that’s that I did.”

3. Hawks players called the win special. They have some impressive victories on the season. A win at the Cavaliers. A home win over the Spurs. Erasing a 20-point deficit at the Bucks. Overcoming a 10-point deficit in the final three minutes against the Bulls. A four overtime win over the Knicks.

This might be the best yet.

“This is the most talented league in the world,” Bazemore said. “Twenty points in the NBA can be erased in the blink of an eye. You have to keep fighting. And the fact that we were on national TV, the few chances we get, it’s good to put up a fight.”

4. Give credit to Budenholzer for sticking with the group that erased the 20-point deficit. He kept Paul Millsap and Schroder on the bench while Malcolm Delaney, Hardaway, Howard, Bazemore and Bembry did most of the work.

It would be tempting to put your four-time all-star back in the game when it got close.

“If you got it rolling, why stop?” Hardaway said. “That’s what Coach Bud is really big on. If the five guys are in there rolling, competing and playing hard, why mess up the chemistry that is out there on the court?”

5. Dwight Howard returned to Houston for the first time after spending three seasons with the Rockets. The Hawks center got a mixture of cheers and boos during pre-game introductions from a sparse crowd.

Howard was cheered when the Rockets played a tribute video during a first-quarter timeout.

The Rockets got back to booing after Howard had four of the Hawks’ first six baskets – and they were all dunks. He had a double-double in the first half with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Howard finished with 24 points and 23 rebounds. Howard would not admit to any special meaning to getting the victory but it was clear his teammates wanted to give it for him.

“I didn’t think about it like that,” Howard said. “I just knew we needed this game. After coming off a tough loss in Miami, I didn’t think about it. It wasn’t like we have to beat Houston because it’s my first time back. I just wanted to win.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Atlanta Hawks

Draft Day Thread: Best player available?
Draft Day Thread: Best player available?

The first-round draft board from a year ago. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) Who you got? The Hawks, as of this morning at least, have three picks on tonight’s NBA Draft – Nos.
What Millsap max contract looks like with new salary cap projection
What Millsap max contract looks like with new salary cap projection

Multiple reports surfaced on Wednesday night that NBA teams have been informed that the 2017-18 salary cap is now projected to be $99 million. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported that a memo was sent to teams with the adjusted figure. That is a $5 million increase from last season but a $2 million decrease than the once projected $101 million. Hawks...
Hawks assistant Spahija named head coach of Maccabi Tel Aviv
Hawks assistant Spahija named head coach of Maccabi Tel Aviv

Hawks assistant coach Neven Spahija has been named head basketball coach of Maccabi Tel Aviv and will return overseas to continue his career. Spahija’s agent, Danko Drakulic, posted on Twitter that a contract had been signed. David Pick reported that the deal runs through 2020 with the team in Israel. Spahija indicated such a deal probable earlier...
Five players the Hawks could select at No. 19
Five players the Hawks could select at No. 19

The Hawks have the No. 19 overall pick of the first round in Thursday’s NBA Draft. General manager Travis Schlenk said the Hawks are looking at nine players the team figures to be available with the selection. Schlenk declined to identify the specific players but has said the Hawks will draft the best player available with an emphasis on character...
My analysis of Howard trade: It was about locker room not court
My analysis of Howard trade: It was about locker room not court

The Atlanta Hawks’ Dwight Howard squeezes the ball before the start of play against the Miami Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. (David Santiago/Miami Herald/TNS) Dwight Howard didn’t change. The Atlanta native is no longer a member of the Hawks. The former eight All-Star and three-time NBA Defensive Player...
More Stories