With the Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers taking the floor against one another on Thursday night, we knew that we were going to be treated to two quality young point guards in the NBA facing off with Kyrie Irving for the Cavs and Jeff Teague for Atlanta. The possibility of those two going off and at each other certainly made this game intriguing.
What was fantastic when all was said and done, though, was that the two guards were at their best and indeed were trading blows for six periods as the game went into double overtime. Irving shot 17-33 from the field on his way to 40 points while also dishing out nine assists. Meanwhile, Teague had a monster night as he notched 34 points on 14-24 shooting while dishing out 14 dimes.
Given points accounted for, Irving and Teague were both playing and producing on about the same level on Thursday night. However, as time expired in the last overtime, it was Teague’s jumper that went through the net while he was lying on the ground, giving the Hawks a the 127-125 win over Cleveland.
After grabbing this win on Thursday, the Hawks have now won four of their last five games and Teague’s play over that stretch has been a huge part of that. Over the last five for Atlanta, Teague has averaged 20.8 points, 11 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 36.4 minutes per game while shooting an impressive 49.4 percent from the floor. That even includes a game against the Utah Jazz where he played only 25 minutes and put up just nine points and eight assists.
Teague has certainly taken a step forward this year in his fifth season in the league and has stepped it up even further towards the end of December. In the struggling Eastern Conference and with Teague and the other key players for the Hawks playing at this level, this Atlanta team seems to be clearly establishing themselves as the outright three seed in the conference.