Hawks downed by red hot Spurs 108-92

BY foxsports • December 10, 2010

By PAUL J. WEBER
Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Dominant as the San Antonio Spurs have been, the only major category they're atop the NBA so far is 3-point shooting.

The Atlanta Hawks learned that can be enough.

Richard Jefferson scored 18 points,
hitting three of his five 3s in the fourth quarter, and the Spurs won
their fourth straight to maintain the NBA's best record with a 108-92
victory over the Hawks on Friday night.

Manu Ginobili also had 18 points. The
Spurs at one point made 3-pointers on four of five possessions in the
final six minutes to overwhelm the Hawks, who had taken the lead to
start the fourth quarter.

"In the fourth quarter we found so many
open 3s," Ginobili said. "It's something so basic, and so important on
every team, because it makes everyone happy and feel involved in the
offense."

Tony Parker added 17 points for the
Spurs, who again denied the Hawks their first victory in San Antonio
since 1997. DeJuan Blair had 16 points and 12 rebounds, getting his
third double-double of the season.

Jamal Crawford led the Hawks with 23
points. Atlanta arrived as one of the hottest teams in the East, but
lost for just the second time in nine games.

The Hawks dropped to 2-6 against teams
currently with winning records, this time giving up a brief
fourth-quarter lead against the NBA's best. The Spurs are 19-3 and kept
the fastest start in franchise history going.

Al Horford had 19 points and Josh Smith
scored 15 for the Hawks, but Smith played just four minutes midway
through the fourth before leaving with what he described as cramps.

He said he may have aggravated his hamstring but expects to play Saturday back home against Indiana.

"I felt like I could have done something
for us to win that game and close that gap," Smith said. "A couple
blown coverages when I went out of the game. It's always frustrating
when you know you can help your team but I just wasn't able to shake
those cramps off."

Atlanta looked like it might end 13
years of misery in San Antonio when Maurice Evans' layup gave the Hawks
a 73-71 lead to start the fourth, but it was short-lived.

Ginobili tied the game the next
possession, and the Spurs went on a 18-6 run over the next six minutes
to build their lead to double figures. Atlanta committed nearly half of
their 15 turnovers in the fourth, when they turned the ball over seven
times.

"The one thing we could not do was turn
the basketball over, and in the fourth quarter we totally lost our
composure," Hawks coach Larry Drew said. "As I told the guys at
halftime, all it takes is two or three short spans of possessions
before the game can get out of hand."

Jefferson finished 5 for 6 from behind
the 3-point line for the Spurs, the NBA's best 3-point shooting team.
They entered the game shooting .407 from behind the arc, and made 10 of
21 against the Hawks.

The Hawks fell to 4-2 without All-Star
guard Joe Johnson, who likely won't return until at least January after
having right elbow surgery. The Hawks again put Marvin Williams in the
backcourt with Mike Bibby for a third straight game, but lost with that
starting combo for the first time.

Williams had 15 points and seven
rebounds, but Bibby had a bad night, scoring nine on just 4-of-12
shooting. Crawford was 8 of 18 from the floor.

Drew worried before the game about
stopping Parker and the pick-and-roll, but the Spurs spread the damage
around. They had six players in double figures, including George Hill's
16 points off the bench. Tim Duncan scored 12 before resting the entire
fourth quarter.

The Spurs are 4-0 on their six-game
homestand. It's their longest one this season, and they'll only play
three of their remaining 10 games in December on the road.


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