Five observations from the Hawks’ 108-107 loss to the Kings Friday.
1. The video of the final play was everywhere. Nearly every Hawks players sat in the postgame locker room, some huddled together, intently staring out their phones. A laptop was scrutinized by other team personnel in a corner. They all showed the same thing. Tim Hardaway’s final second drive to the basket.
The drive was challenged by Kings’ DeMarcus Cousins, Matt Barnes and Ben McLemore. No foul was called on the play and the miss ended a game in which the Hawks led by as many as 22 points.
The Hawks didn’t mince words about the perceived blatant foul.
“It’s clearly a foul,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “They go right through his body. They go right through his lower left leg. It’s a foul. It was a no-call. We’ll get the report in the morning. They will say it was a no-call. It doesn’t do anything to help us now.”
Hardaway was likewise frustrated.
“It’s clear,” Hardaway said. “There is nothing else to be said. It shouldn’t have gotten to that point. Everyone knows the call should have been made. They didn’t make it. Move on. It’s just hard to go out like that man.”
He was then asked who fouled him.
“I think I got fouled by all three,” he said. “They didn’t call it. We go out there and bust our tails night in and night out. They’ve been calling that foul all game. For them not to call it … but it is what it is.”
2. The Hawks can lament the final play but the real issue was a blown 22-point lead. The Hawks led 71-49 with 7:02 left in the third quarter. The Kings answered with a 44-22 run into the fourth quarter. They tied the game, 93-93, when Cousins banked in a 3-pointer with the shot clock about to expire with 4:42 remaining.
The game went back-and-forth with each team losing and regaining the lead. The Hawks led by as many as seven points after the game was tied but lost the advantage when the Kings scored eight straight points with Anthony Tolliver and Cousins starting with back-to-back 3-pointers.
“It happened so fast,” Paul Millsap said. “It’s the same stuff we’ve been talking about. Trying to hold on to a 20-point lead, on the road, against a team we should have put away. Give them credit. They played their butts off. They hit some tough shots. But I think we could have done a better job of holding the lead.”
The Kings shot 53 percent in the second half and made 10 of their franchise record 18 3-pointers.
3. Dwight Howard finished with first half with six points, 10 rebounds and two fouls. He ended the game with six points, 11 rebounds and six fouls. The Hawks center fouled out with 44.7 seconds remaining.
Cousins finished the first half with six points and five rebounds and two fouls. He finished the game with 22 points, 11 rebounds and five fouls. The Kings center picked up with fifth foul with 3:37 left in the third quarter. He played 9:09 between the final two quarters without picking up a sixth foul. He scored 12 points in his 5:32 of the fourth quarter.
Howard refused comment following the game.
4. The game was chippy and there were several technical fouls. Kings coach Dave Joerger and Barnes were called for technicals. The Hawks were hit with one – but in the end it proved most costly. Howard was called for a technical when he complained about his fifth personal foul with 4:02 remaining.
“We’ve got to be better about getting technicals,” Budenholzer said. “The whole group. This year I think we’ve gotten more than is really acceptable. It’s a close game in the fourth quarter. Every point is going to count. Every point is going to matter. You can’t give them those.”
Darren Collison made the technical free throw.
The difference in the game – one point.
5. The Hawks have been here before. They have erased 20-point deficits this season in road wins over the Bucks and Rockets. Now, they were on the receiving end of such an outcome.
The Kings were 1-12 this season in games they trailed by as many as 20 points. Now, they have their second such win.
“It’s a tough game to lose,” Kent Bazemore said. “We’ve been on the other side of 20-point comebacks. We know how they feel. It sucks. We had our sights set on, we still can, but going into the break winning these games.”