Hawks use balanced attack to win showdown with Warriors
The Atlanta Hawks climbed back to the top of the NBA standings by leaning on their depth.
Jeff Teague scored 23 points and the Atlanta Hawks overcame Golden State's one-two backcourt punch with balance, beating the Warriors 124-116 on Friday night in a showdown between the NBA's two conference leaders. Seven Hawks scored in double figures.
"I think we share the ball more than they do," said Atlanta's Dennis Schroder, who had nine points and seven assists off the bench. "I think that's why we won the game tonight."
The anticipated matchup did not disappoint. It was tied 52-all at halftime and Atlanta led by four entering the final period.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Mike Scott and Kyle Korver, who each had 17 points, helped stretch the lead.
The Hawks (42-9, .824) passed the Warriors (39-9, .813) for the league's best record.
It was tempting for all -- with the possible exception of Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer -- to view the game as a possible NBA finals preview.
"I don't think one bit about that," Budenholzer said without a smile after the game.
The Warriors leaned on their one-two punch of Klay Thompson, who had 29 points, and Stephen Curry, who had 26 with nine assists. Golden State had only two other scorers in double figures.
Al Horford had 12 points and 14 rebounds, despite playing only eight minutes in the second half due to foul trouble, and Paul Millsap had 21.
Nine of the 11 points Teague scored in the final frame came on free throws.
"They were good," said Warriors coach Steve Kerr. "They were better than us. We broke down defensively. They had a lot to do with that because of the way they stretch you out."
Atlanta led 100-90 with 8:32 remaining. Golden State cut it to six points when Horford was charged with an offensive foul -- his fifth. Horford drew a technical when protesting the call. He had to leave the game, just as he did with 8:21 remaining in the third, when he drew his fourth foul, also on a charge.
Less than three minutes later, Golden State's Draymond Green drew a technical for arguing a foul call.
Warriors: Golden State had its three-game winning streak snapped. ... Curry had 15 points in the third period. ... Had their five-game winning streak over the Hawks end with their first loss in Atlanta since Dec. 29, 2010. ... Curry has at least one 3-pointer in 58 consecutive road games, the NBA's longest active streak. ... Harrison Barnes and Green each had 12 points. Green had a career-high 20 rebounds, the team's first 20-rebound game since Andrew Bogut grabbed that many on Dec. 21, 2012.
Hawks: Atlanta had 72 second-half points. ... G Shelvin Mack was in uniform but did not play after being inactive nine straight games with a left calf strain. ... Horford, Teague and Millsap were handed their All-Star jerseys in a pregame ceremony. ... The Hawks said about 170 credentials were issued for the game -- more than for any Atlanta playoff game last season.
With the Warriors in the middle of a stretch with four games in five nights, coach Steve Kerr was asked before the game if he plans to rest any players against Atlanta.
"I am. I've decided to rest Steph, Klay, Draymond and Bogut," Kerr said, naming four starters.
Kerr added with a laugh: "Can I get fined for a joke?"
THREE FOR ALL
The game brought together three contenders in next week's NBA Three-Point Contest at the All-Star game. The "Splash Brothers" of Curry and Thompson and Atlanta's Korver will join five others in the contest.
Korver had support from other long-range shooters. Kent Bazemore made each of his three 3s in the first half. Scott hit back-to-back 3s at the end of the third to give Atlanta an 89-85 lead entering the final quarter.
Warriors: Visit Knicks on Saturday
Hawks: Visit Grizzlies on Sunday.