Five observations from the Hawks’ 107-99 loss to the Spurs Monday night.
1. The Hawks trailed by double digits for much of the game. However, they pulled to within a point, 86-85, with 8:06 remaining.
However, the Hawks then went 2 for 9 with four turnovers. The one-point deficit turned into an 11-point deficit with 1:36 remaining.
“We had a few empty possessions,” Paul Millsap said. “Can’t have that against a good team. You’ve got to do better, especially against a good team when it comes down to a few possessions.”
2. The Hawks forced the Spurs into a season-high 23 turnovers. However, they did not capitalize on the extra possessions. Especially early in the game.
In the first quarter, the Spurs turned Hawks’ five turnovers into nine points. The Hawks turn Spurs’ seven turnovers into just three points.
“If you get turnovers, you have to be able to get points out of them,” Millsap said. “We just didn’t capitalize on them. The execution wasn’t that great. We had stretches where we executed really well. We had stretches were we were just dumbfounded. Against a good team they are going to capitalize on that.”
3. The 3-point shot killed the Hawks again. After allowing just nine 3-pointers in the previous two games combined, the Hawks allowed the Spurs a season-high 16 long-range makes. They shot .471 from long range on 34 attempts.
The Spurs were 5 of 8 from 3-point range during the decisive fourth quarter. Danny Green, Patty Mills and Kawhi Leonard hit three straight 3-pointers in a decisive 14-6 run in the fourth.
The Hawks shot a meager .273 as they were 6 of 22 from 3-point range.
“Sometimes you feel like this is a tough place to win and the basket sometimes feel like they have an extra defender up there on them,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said.
4. The Hawks went 9:28 without a field goal between the first and second quarters. That would allow the Spurs to build a double-digit lead the Hawks could never completely overcome.
During the rough stretch, the Hawks scored just four points as they were 4 of 7 from the free-throw line. The Hawks were 0 of 11 from the field with seven turnovers. Three of the turnovers were offensive fouls.
In spite of all that, the Hawks made it a game late. That was the silver lining.
“To come in here and compete against these guys is great,” Budenholzer said. “They test you in a lot of ways. Their spacing. Their shooting. Their driving. … For our group to get down after a couple of rough stretches and able to come back and get within one point. A couple of shots here or there. But that’s the game. They made a few more plays than us, a few more shots than us. I’m mostly proud of the guys the way they competed.”
5. The Hawks have lost 19 straight games on the road to the Spurs. However, there is some solace to take from a number of close losses.
The Hawks lost by 20 points in San Antonio last season. However, they dropped four of the past five games by a total of 21 points. Two of the years the final deficit was just two points.
“Still learning,” Kent Bazemore said. “Still growing. It didn’t come out the way we wanted. A few more shots go down and I think it’s a totally different outcome. I like where we are. The effort is there. We are still playing hard. We are going to continue to fight. I really feel good about this team and the season we’ve had, grinding to get wins, come playoff time that’s going to help us out.”
Millsap saw the positives but in the end it was still a loss.
“A loss is a loss,” Millsap said. “At the end of the day we have to do better down the stretch, especially in their building.”