Hawks vs. Thunder - Recap
The Atlanta Hawks beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 104-95 tonight on the road. This was the road opener of the 2012-13 NBA season for the Hawks. With the win tonight, the Hawks improved to 1-1 on the season and took a 1-0 lead in the regular season series with the Thunder. The starters for the Hawks tonight were Jeff Teague and DeShawn Stevenson in the backcourt, Kyle Korver and Anthony Tolliver at the two forward positions, and Al Horford at center. Josh Smith (right ankle sprain) and Johan Petro (lower back pain) did not make the trip to Oklahoma City. The leading scorer for the Hawks was Al Horford, with 23 points. He also grabbed 12 boards, giving him a double-double on the night. Louis Williams added 19 points off the bench. Jeff Teague contributed 16 points and five assists. Ivan Johnson scored 10 points off the bench. The leading scorer for the Thunder was Kevin Martin, with a game-high 28 points. In the first quarter, the Hawks went on an 11-0 run and took a 30-22 lead over the Thunder at the end of one. In the second quarter, the Hawks took their biggest lead of the game at 10, but the Thunder closed the half on an 18-5 run, and behind 19 second-quarter points from Kevin Martin, the Thunder took a 51-47 lead over the Hawks at the break. In the third quarter, the Hawks outscored the Thunder 28-23 to retake the lead, 75-74, heading into the final frame. In the fourth quarter, Louis Williams scored 14 of his 19 points, and the Hawks went on a 12-4 run to secure the nine-point victory. I think the key to the win tonight for the Hawks was turnovers. The Hawks forced 20 Thunder turnovers, while only giving up the ball 10 times. The Hawks forced Russell Westbrook out of his game by playing great defense, and because of that, he wasn't able to get the ball down low to his bigs to exploit the absence of Josh Smith. The Hawks repeatedly stole the ball (12-4 advantage in steals) and scored on the fastbreak. The Hawks are now leading the NBA in fastbreak points per game (yes, I know they've only played two games). Great win for the Hawks against the reigning Western Conference champions.