With the score 111-106 in favor of the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors, Hawks point guard Dennis Schroder was fouled by Draymond Green while attempting a three-pointer.
The shot missed but Schroder did not, making all three from the charity stripe to bring the Hawks within two points with just 19.9 seconds to play in the game.
Atlanta had fought back from a 14-point deficit with 7:05 remaining in the game and were now working on a comeback win for the ages (or at least for this season).
Warriors all-star Kevin Durant would receive the customary foul on the inbounds play and convert one of his two free-throws, keeping the door open for an overtime opportunity for Atlanta with 18.5 seconds left on the clock.
Moments ago, this game’s outcome was never in question. Moments later it, would not be as the Hawks turned the ball over and Andre Iguodala finished his only steal of the game (9 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds) with a dunk. The 114-109 final score, the Hawks fifth loss in six games, was not all bad to their head coach.
“Just a great effort from our guys,” said Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer during his post-game press conference. “Guys are getting better and I’m proud of them.”
The Hawks only have eight home games remaining this season and with the likes of Oklahoma City, Charlotte, Miami and Philadelphia (twice) coming to town Friday night might have been one of the last chances they get to give the home crowd a victory. (The Hawks will host Orlando on April Fool’s Day so there’s still plenty of hope for another home win.)
With Steph Curry out for the second half of the game with was is being reported as a rolled ankle, Atlanta had a great chance to win the game, especially after Curry scored 25 points during the first half on 7-12 FGs, 3-6 from three and 8-8 from the free-throw line.
Unfortunately for the Hawks and the rest of the league there are a few other very good basketball players on the Warriors roster and they just so happened to be in the building. Reserve guard Nick Young nailed a three-pointer at the end of the first quarter to give the Warriors a 33-31 advantage. He then would proceed to score the first eight points of the second quarter. “Nick Young killed us in the first half,” said Budenholzer after the game.
The Warriors led by 12 points, 62-50, at halftime but there were signs of life from the Hawks as they went on a 7-3 run midway through the second quarter and at one time had cut the Warriors lead to just five points.
No Curry, no problem as Durant took over scoring duties during the second half, scoring 16 of his 28 points points. Bazemore matched his effort, making a number of tough shots over outstretched hands to get 29 points of his own in what Budenholzer called “one of his best games since he’s been here.”
Bazemore made 10 of his 16 shot attempts and five of his seven three-point attempts. He did finish the game with four turnovers, the last one being the biggest of them all. Schroder scored 27 points to go along with a perfect night from the free-throw line (5-5) and nine assists. Rookie forward John Collins started again for Atlanta, scoring 16 points and grabbing eight rebounds.
The Warriors did not need Curry during the second half and apparently do not need much offense from three-time all-star forward Draymond Green as he only attempted three shots (one during the third quarter was a rushed shot from well behind the three-point line as the shot clock expired) and only scored two points. Green’s skill set calls for more than just scoring however and he displayed that by finishing the game with a team-high nine assists and seven rebounds.
The Hawks are off on Saturday and will host the Phoenix Suns on Sunday.