Atlanta Hawks: Thunder 100, Hawks 92 (updated)

Vivlamore reporting.

Kevin Durant would have nothing to do with a Hawks comeback.

The Thunder star scored a game-high 41 points, including 18 in the fourth quarter, as the Hawks failed to overcome a 17-point deficit in a 100-92 loss Wednesday at Philips Arena.

The Hawks nearly erased the big deficit and pulled to within four points, 73-69, early in the fourth quarter. Then Durant went to work. He scored 18 of the Thunders’ next 22 points, including a stretch of 13 straight.

The Hawks continued to fight but could never pull closer.

“He’s very, very talented,” Hawks swingman DeShawn Stevenson said of Durant. “Sometimes you can play good defense but even good defense is not good enough for a guy who is 7-foot tall with a jump shot like that, with a handle. Tonight he had a great night. It was his night.”

Russell Westbrook added 27 points for the Thunder (21-4), who improved on their NBA-best record with their 12th straight victory. Westbrook scored 21 first-half points as the Thunder built their biggest lead in the second quarter. Durant and Westbrook accounted for 68 percent of the offense. Durant added 13 rebounds and Westbrook had 11 assists to complete double-doubles.

The Hawks (15-8) were led by Jeff Teague with 19 points. Josh Smith added 17 points and 12 rebounds. Al Horford and Lou Williams scored 13 points apiece. It was only the fourth loss for the Hawks in the past 16 games.

The Thunder took full control of the game in the second quarter building their insurmountable lead. They took a 55-41 advantage into the intermission as the Hawks shot just 37 percent (9-for-24) and made just one of their first seven shots in the second quarter. Westbrook had 12 points in the second quarter alone.

“It seems as the game progressed we wore down,” coach Larry Drew said of the first half. “We weren’t as sharp executing our sets. That resulted in some bad shots. We had a lot of bad shots in that first half. That was the reason we got down. I told the guys at halftime, when you play against a good team, a team who defends the way they do, you have to trust in what you do. It’s not a time to fragment. I thought early we played too much one-on-one and it resulted in a lot of bad shots. They got out and ran and attacked us to the run.”

The Hawks cut their deficit to 10 points early in the third quarter. Horford drove to the basket for a dunk and appeared to be fouled. Durant got a basket and the other end and then added a free throw when Horford was called for a technical for protesting the non-whistle. The Thunder would get their lead back to 17 points before the Hawks closed the third quarter on a 14-2 run to go into the final quarter down just seven points, 73-66. Smith had a 3-pointer, Zaza Pachulia had a pair of put-backs, Williams slammed two points on an alley-oop pass from Smith and Anthony Tolliver hit three free-throws.

Tolliver scored the first three points of the fourth quarter but the Hawks could get no closer.

“The second quarter they created too much separation,” Horford said. “Against a good team like this, we can’t have lapses that big. I felt the second half we fought, we played hard and we just couldn’t crack them to tie the game or take the lead.”

The Hawks credited their second-half run on a better defensive effort and energy sparked by Horford.

“We were tougher than in the first two quarters. I think it started with Al, when he drove to the bucket and there was no call,” Pachulia said. “… He got very aggressive and it definitely affected me. He got mad and it affected me and when I got in the game I tried to do the same.”

The game got physical with players exchanging words and both sides protesting calls. The Hawks, who had won two straight against the defending Western Conference champions, said they weren’t about to back down.

“We put our pants on just like they do,” Smith said. “We are not going to back down from anybody, no matter what the records says, no matter what the media says about a team. This is why I love this group of individuals in this locker room. We are not scared of anybody. We are willing to take the challenge. Unfortunately we just fell short tonight.”

The contest was the second of five back-to-back games already this season for the Hawks. After a day off Thursday, they play another road-home back-to-back at the Sixers Friday and versus the Bulls Saturday. The Hawks are 8-2 in back-to-backs this season.

- Chris Vivlamore

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FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER @AJCHAWKS

83 comments Add your comment

Najeh Davenpoop

December 19th, 2012
9:57 pm

Apparently Big Dog Glenn Robinson’s son is going to get drafted in the late lottery this year. That makes me feel pretty f-cking old. It was only 10 years ago that Big Dog was cementing himself among my least favorite Hawks players of all time.

O'Brien

December 19th, 2012
9:57 pm

Hawks may rank top 5 in defensive efficiency, but in their last 2 losses, they have given up 115 to Golden State, and 100 to OKC.

O'Brien

December 19th, 2012
9:58 pm

Hawks outrebounded by 8, shoot 65% from the FT line, and 38% from 3. I think those are the 3 aspects of the game that play a huge role as to whether or not Hawks win or lose.

O'Brien

December 19th, 2012
9:58 pm

I think one of the reasons the Hawks struggled tonight was playing an OT game last night, so guys were tired. And Al has now had 2 bad games in a row. Is it cause for concern?

Slimjr

December 19th, 2012
9:58 pm

MISS UNIVERSE 2012 IS MISS USA!

TOUGH LOSS, MORE TO COME

High-sider

December 19th, 2012
10:00 pm

Durant scored 41% of the Thunder’s points – 41 out of 100 points. That was some easy math, huh.

Thunder beat Hawks, 100 – 92.

Najeh Davenpoop

December 19th, 2012
10:00 pm

Hawks’ half court offense (which wasn’t great in the first place) has regressed the last three games. Gotta get back to the ball movement and high low game that sparked the 6 game winning streak a couple of weeks ago. Haven’t seen much of the Josh-Al high low game at all the last three games.

Rev in Tampa

December 19th, 2012
10:03 pm

Missed the game. Had to go Christmas caroling with the church. Bah humbug.

Najeh Davenpoop

December 19th, 2012
10:03 pm

LD bears a lot of responsibility for this loss too. Morrow was -16 in 10 minutes in large part because LD went super small and put him on Durant, which made other players have to help and left the Thunder shooters wide open. And they really should have gone with the big lineup (Josh-Al-Zaza in the front court) for a variety of reasons, rebounding being the first among them.

keith

December 19th, 2012
10:03 pm

We have a lot of work to do…We have too many scoring droughts. Not enough points in the paint..
ALS0…IMO…Miss USA was WEAK!!!!!!!!

O'Brien

December 19th, 2012
10:04 pm

Najeh,

When the Hawks went on their 6 game win streak, were they playing quality teams like GS or OKC?

SuckerFree

December 19th, 2012
10:05 pm

@Rod

quit with the negativity. The only person we couldn’t stop was KD. LeBron can’t even stop KD. He is what he is. A walking 30 points…pencil it in…it’s happening.

The only ones in double figures…KD & Russell. OKC shot 43% from the field. That’s not outstanding.

The game was lost on the glass and on the free throw line.

Slimjr

December 19th, 2012
10:05 pm

They have film and are adjusting as they should to defend the Hawks..

It only gets harder as the Hawks competition improves..The Schedule will find you…

Just Joe

December 19th, 2012
10:05 pm

37% from the field against GS. 38% tonight. Offensive efficiency is the key in my opinion. We got out-rebounded because we missed way more shots than our competition. Other than that, OKC was 19 of 20 from the line. Hawks 11 of 17.

keith

December 19th, 2012
10:06 pm

Rev in Tampa
December 19th, 2012
10:03 pm

Rev…Rev,,,,Rev….Where are your priorities? Hope you have Tivo???

W.R. Terrell

December 19th, 2012
10:06 pm

Well someone was talking about Josh singlehandedly beating the Thunder last year. Where do these dreamers come from. Lets see I think he was 8-19, 0-3 on free throws, 3 turnovers, 12 rebounds and a couple of blocks. Why some of you folks feel like this guy will take the HAWKS over the hump is beyond me. Philly is coming up and I feel another disaster coming, hopefully we can beat Cleveland this time around but that’s about it. Reality should be setting in, if not then ask your docs for some Prozac.

Slimjr

December 19th, 2012
10:07 pm

Hey Rev tell em Nimord started christmas then they’ll label you the Grinch whole stole christmas.hahahahahaha

Najeh Davenpoop

December 19th, 2012
10:07 pm

“When the Hawks went on their 6 game win streak, were they playing quality teams like GS or OKC?”

No, but their most impressive win during that streak was a double digit win over the Clippers, and they followed it up with another 3 game streak where they beat Denver and Memphis. Throughout that entire time, the offense looked a lot better than it has looked the last three games. More ball movement, high low game, and pick and rolls; less standing around and watching.

Rod from College Park

December 19th, 2012
10:09 pm

“The only person we couldn’t stop was KD.”

Obviously you have no idea what you just watched. So no need for me to respond.

W.R. Terrell

December 19th, 2012
10:09 pm

Is reality setting in ye? I hope so because the beating of the Thunder singlehandedly as someone said last eve is still a dream

Slimjr

December 19th, 2012
10:09 pm

Can Allstar Al get us over the hump Fan club member? Hmmmmmmm

Rod from College Park

December 19th, 2012
10:13 pm

“They have film and are adjusting as they should to defend the Hawks..”

Ding!! The play where Josh gets the ball on the block, and he kicks to open shooters is becoming easy to defend. Especially when they don’t fear the post game.

SuckerFree

December 19th, 2012
10:13 pm

lol @ Tolliver having ice on his shoulders….he played like 8 minutes

High-sider

December 19th, 2012
10:15 pm

SuckerFee and Just Joe,

The Hawks and Thunder made the same amount of field goals and 3pt. field goals tonight. You’re right the difference was at the FT line.

Hawks – 36 of 94 from the field; 9 of 24 from the 3pt. arc

Thunder – 36 of 84 from the field; 9 of 25 from the 3pt. arc

http://www.nba.com/games/20121219/OKCATL/gameinfo.html?ls=iref:nbahpgt0021200371#

Slimjr

December 19th, 2012
10:15 pm

@Rod,

Preach, Choir, Tabernacle!

Sameba

December 19th, 2012
10:19 pm

WTF Korver plays against Durant?! KK could not guard Barnes!
Why LD is refusing starting a big lineup? The Hawks were outrebounded 44-52
and that was a big factor in the loss – good O starts after good D.

This game is on LD.

SuckerFree

December 19th, 2012
10:19 pm

@ Rod

“Obviously you have no idea what you just watched. So no need for me to respond.”

Because you know KD was the only one we couldn’t stop. Westbrook 9-21. He was hot early….then they clamped down on him and he made 8 free throws. He had 2 buckets in the second half because Teague and Lou picked up the defense.

Every time they needed a bucket KD answered no matter the circumstance or who was guarding him. There’s no defense for him. They had 2 players in double figures; one shot 42% and the other shot 61%. Figure it out.

Slimjr

December 19th, 2012
10:21 pm

When your big who out weighs the guy guarding him by 80lbs and has a 7 inch height advantage becomes Chief Passer at the free throw line instead of punishing the mouse in the house, then expect to fall short many times…

Rev in Tampa

December 19th, 2012
10:21 pm

SlimJr,

You seem to live in those first ten chapters of Genesis (Nephilim & Nimrod).

Here is a question for you, “Do you know the identity of the seed (offspring) of the woman in Genesis 3:15?

O'Brien

December 19th, 2012
10:23 pm

Slim,

What game were u watching? Who was guarding Al?

O'Brien

December 19th, 2012
10:23 pm

I know KD can’t be stopped, but to see Morrow and Stevenson on him was laughable. Hawks really need a SF who can do a better job than Morrow and Stevenson, because right now, our only good defender of SF is Josh.

Speaking of which, why didnt LD go to the big lineup more?

keith

December 19th, 2012
10:24 pm

If Danny decides to keep Josh and Al going forward, neither is worth more than 8mil/per season. If i am the GM

Slimjr

December 19th, 2012
10:25 pm

Is there a pattern going on here?

Back-to-back pt. guards going for 27? Fascinating[ Spock's voice]

keith

December 19th, 2012
10:26 pm

keith
December 19th, 2012
10:24 pm

If i am the GM, i do not think we have the front court that could lead us to a championship. I would tweak the roster and move Josh for “Draft picks” unprotected picks. Also, when Al’s deal is done, he can walk….

SuckerFree

December 19th, 2012
10:29 pm

@O’Brien That position is the weakness of the Hawks team no doubt about it. We don’t have a SF on the roster (not counting JSmoove since he’s “considered” a 4). However, it wouldn’t have mattered much tonight because Durant is Durant. There’s not a SF in the league that can do anything with him.

He’s shooting 51% from the field and 90% from the FT line on the season which is flat out incredible given that he takes a lot of jump shots. Really some video game stuff.

Slimjr

December 19th, 2012
10:33 pm

OB it was on a switch! take it easy….lol..

Sameba

December 19th, 2012
10:34 pm

In every game where the opposing team has a very good SF the Hawks should play a big lineup. Otherwise the loss is inevitable. Cannot LD understand this? Is he so goofy??

Mookie Blaylock

December 19th, 2012
10:38 pm

Tolliver attempted to win over Hawks fans from his horrible play with his pre-game interview today. All the talk of “Adopting” a family with his wife, giving them Holiday Dinners, and listening to a “Christian Artist” to get “pumped up” before games. What a bunch of BS.

keith

December 19th, 2012
10:38 pm

I am watching the Kings right now.. Cousins has turned out to be a “Bust” so far. What a Bum!?Hawks could probably move Josh and Teague for Cousins???

Slimjr

December 19th, 2012
10:38 pm

“I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:14-16

keith

December 19th, 2012
10:43 pm

The more i observe the Atlanta Hawks play Basketball, the more I am convinced that LD is an “Idiot.” He’s in over his head! He’s a great assistant coach. Larry is like the “Girlfriend” to the “Really hot Girl” That’s the best way i can make it real? Which one of those girls would you rather date?????

Slimjr

December 19th, 2012
10:44 pm

The phrase “Seed of the woman” is sometimes counted as one of the titles of Jesus in the Bible?

I’m not a scholar.. Whats your take?

Sameba

December 19th, 2012
10:46 pm

The only reason we won at Memphis was that we played a big lineup for the most time…

Rod from College Park

December 19th, 2012
10:48 pm

“Because you know KD was the only one we couldn’t stop. Westbrook 9-21. He was hot early….then they clamped down on him and he made 8 free throws. He had 2 buckets in the second half because Teague and Lou picked up the defense.”

No I don’t know that. Westbrook had 27 and he is averaging 20 for the year he is shooting 41% from the field for the year, and shot 42% against us tonight. So no, I don’t believe we shut him down. LOL. By the way, the first half does count as part of the game.

Slimjr

December 19th, 2012
10:48 pm

If I had a choice between the Girlfriend or the Really hot girl?

I’ll take the Girlfriend cause the [really hot girl] would probably be a basket case… hahahha

Slimjr

December 19th, 2012
10:55 pm

The Hawks could use a Giant to protect the rim…lol…

Harpie

December 19th, 2012
11:02 pm

Larry Drew sucks!

Slimjr

December 19th, 2012
11:03 pm

OKC are 17-1 when they reach 100!

Slimjr

December 19th, 2012
11:06 pm

Woody= 37-12

22-2 @ home

Section 303

December 19th, 2012
11:23 pm

Hawks seem like they are in some kind of offensive funk right now. It started with the Golden State game and has just carried over. They blew so many scoring chances tonight. There were missed layups, missed free throws, missed jumpers, missed 3’s….add on the fact that every Hawk seemed to be required to bobble the ball on every first touch.

Josh and Al did not play that well tonight. When those two are off, makes things really hard.

They will look a lot better once shots start falling, again. Hope that begins on Friday, at Philly. Remember, Philly owned us last year.