Halfway through the fourth quarter, the Hawks had outscored the Thunder 15-4, and things hadn’t got much better a couple of minutes later when radio guy Matt Pinto almost totally lost it, incredulous that Kent Bazemore could foul Kevin Durant, protest loudly, stick a fist into the air, and not draw a technical. It didn’t matter so much, perhaps: at the three-minute mark, Atlanta was up 13, and the writing was on the wall. The final was 103-93, the 15th straight win for the Hawks and the end of a four-game winning streak for the Thunder.
Atlanta didn’t do much wrong: they rolled up a lot of turnovers in the first half, finishing with 18, but they absolutely dominated the glass, 47-36, and hit all 13 of their free throws. I strongly suspect that the OKC game plan here was to keep Kyle Korver from doing anything; that, at least, worked, with Korver making only two of five shots. But the four other Hawk starters nailed double figures, led by Paul Millsap with 22 and ten boards. Al Horford collected 12 boards and 14 points; Jeff Teague had 17 points and nine assists. Dennis Schröder paced the bench with 13.
It was a good first quarter for Durant, who rang up nine quick points, but he struggled for most of the rest of the game and finished with 21, just behind Russell Westbrook, who recorded one of two Thunder double-doubles (22 points, 11 assists). Serge Ibaka got the other, 13 points and 10 boards, though he seemed to have trouble with, and from, Millsap all night. Beyond that, nobody with as much as 10: both Dion Waiters and Reggie Jackson shot 3-8, not much worse than the team’s 41 percent.
This road trip ends with a Sunday matinee in Cleveland, and the Cavaliers, who stomped all over the Hornets tonight, would like to even up the season series. Besides, there’s that LeBron fellow. A brief trip home to welcome the much-bloodied Timberwolves, and then back East to Madison Square Garden and a chance to say hello to Knicks coach Derek Fisher.