The game between the Atlanta Hawks and San Antonio Spurs on Friday night was an odd one. The blowout loss was certainly odd considering the Hawks almost pulled out a win on the road against the Spurs about a month ago. Both teams limped into Philips Arena with a multitude of injuries to each of their rosters. For San Antonio, many key players such as Tiago Splitter, Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green were not available to play in the game. For Atlanta, the injuries continue to pile up on the season as the Hawks entered last night’s game without Al Horford, DeMarre Carroll and Pero Antic. However, when the Hawks exited the floor, they did so without one of their best players, Jeff Teague.
In the second quarter, Teague landed on Tim Duncan‘s foot and twisted his ankle which forced him to sit the remainder of the game. At the time of the injury, Atlanta was already being blown out of the building by a better San Antonio team so it’s not like the game turned in favor of the Spurs following the injury. However, when Teague hurt his ankle all chances of a comeback victory went right out the window. The Spurs kept their foot on the accelerator after the incident and built upon their lead even more as a couple of bench players put on an amazing display of offense.
Boris Diaw and Patty Mills destroyed the Hawks with their ability to shoot the ball from three-point range. Diaw finished the game with an impressive 21 points by going 8-for-10 from the field, including 3-for-4 from three-point land. Mills shot the ball even better from beyond the arc as he manged to make 6-of-8 from there to finish with a remarkable 18 points off the bench. These two performances were a major reason for the blowout win over the Hawks, but the play of their captain also helped. Duncan finished with 17 points and 16 rebounds in a dominating effort down low for the Spurs.
The Hawks definitely missed some of their most important players in the loss last night. Carroll could have made a huge impact on this game if he did not have to sit out with a hamstring injury. In the games he’s missed, Atlanta has only managed to win one out of a possible four, and some of these games haven’t even been close. The intensity he brings to the floor on both sides of the ball every game, especially on defense, makes the Hawks a way better team. When he plays, Atlanta can compete with the best in the league as illustrated by their recent wins over the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers. However, last night’s game against the Spurs proves what can happen when Atlanta is without their premier defender in the lineup.