The Golden State Warriors pitched up tent last night at Phillips Arena as the circus, led by ringmaster and NBA phenomenon Stephen Curry, pulled into town. Curry led the game with 36 points as the Warriors became the fastest team in NBA history to reach 50 wins in their 102-92 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.
The last time the two teams met marked one of the most highly anticipated games of the season as each team had dominated its respective conference. This season? Not so much.
The Hawks have been unable to maintain that level of success this season, but the Warriors nonetheless had Phillips Arena abuzz last night.
Al Hortford had a strong showing for Atlanta, scoring 23 points and grabbing 16 boards in addition to maintaining a sizable defensive presence. Jeff Teague’s struggles on the season continued, as he scored 16 after shooting 5-12. Dennis Schroder later bailed Teague out, shooting 8-12 for 18 points.
Of course the splash brothers put on a show with Klay Thompson and Curry combining for 63 points accounting for 62 percent of the warriors’ scoring.
The night was not all negative for the Hawks who were unable to compete with the Warriors for the first half of the game. Down 22 points early in the third quarter, it seemed that the Hawks’ fate was sealed.
Holding the Warriors to six points in the last seven minutes of the third quarter, the Hawks were able to rally back and pull within one point. Atlanta briefly pushed further in the fourth quarter with a four-point lead, but that was the most it would be all night. The Hawks’ run took all the air out of the team as the Warriors did what they do best: shock and awe with a barrage of contested threes.
The Hawks resolve not to succumb to the Warriors’ dominance could be the only silver lining for Atlanta after last night. The late surge came in large part from Dennis Schroder, who has been developing a case for the starting point guard role over a recently struggling Jeff Teague.
After the game, Thompson noted that Schroder was “on fire” but that the Hawks’ pick and roll defense was “really off.”
The 22 year-old Schroder could not maintain his level of play all night, shooting an air ball three at what marked the end of the Hawks’ third quarter run.
“We were in a hole in the first quarter and we were able to fight our way back after the third quarter which is hopefully something we can build off of,” Hawks Head Coach Mike Budenholzer said after the game.
So, the Warriors improve to 50-5 and continue their quest to best the 1995-1996 Chicago Bull’s 72-10 record. To them, this win in Atlanta is another stepping stone in the quest to be one of the greatest teams of all time.
“It’s great to have 50 wins three years in a row, that’s not something we take for granted,” Thompson said. “This organization has come a long way, we fought real hard to get to this point. Just being in that conversation with that Bulls team, it’s surreal.”
The Hawks will desperately seek to avoid their fifth consecutive loss at home when they play the Chicago Bulls Friday night.