In a Saturday night match-up of last place teams from the Eastern Conference and Western Conference, the Atlanta Hawks (7-25) took the floor at home to face the Dallas Mavericks (9-24) one night after Russell Westbrook beat the Hawks with a last second three point shot in Oklahoma City. Starting point guard Dennis Schroder took the floor with the starting unit after sitting out Friday night’s tilt with the Thunder while dealing with an ankle injury.
In a closely contested game that included 18 ties and 18 lead changes, the Hawks were able to prevail by a final score of 112-107. The Hawks clinched the two-game season series versus the Mavericks and have now have won nine consecutive games against Dallas, including five in a row at home.
Mike Budenholzer was pleased with the energy and effort after losing a close game in Oklahoma City on Friday night and traveling to get back to Atlanta for the Saturday night match-up. “Just to come back from last night.. I thought there was 48 minutes of competitive togetherness,” Budenholzer said. “A lot of guys stepped up and played well. Pleased for our guys, happy for our guys.”
Both teams have been plagued by numerous injuries this season. The Hawks played without Mike Muscala, who was expected to play a second rehab game with the Hawks’ G-League affiliate Erie BayHawks on Saturday night, as well as Dewayne Dedmon (leg). The Mavs played without Seth Curry (leg), Nerles Noel (thumb), Josh McRoberts (knee) and Dorian Finney-Smith (knee).
First Quarter (Hawks 25, Mavericks 25)
The Hawks used two baskets each from Taurean Prince and Ersan Ilyasova to quickly jump out to a 9-4 lead prompting a timeout from Mavs’ coach Rick Carlisle. After the timeout, the Mavs made a 7-0 run to take an 11-9 setting the stage for a first quarter that would include in four ties and seven lead changes.
Ersan Ilyasova paced the Hawks’ offense in the first quarter with ten points on four of four shooting from the field. John Collins quickly brought his typical energy and scoring from the bench contributing six points of his own making all three field goal attempts. Prince added five points, three rebounds and two assists but committed four turnovers including two offensive fouls.
Maxi Kleber led the Mavs with eight points while Yogi Ferrell and Devin Harris each added five from the bench. The Mavs struggled to make shots in the first quarter (9/22 FGA, 3/10 3PA) but used an edge in offensive rebounding and turnovers get extra possessions and stay with the Hawks who shot 11 of 19 but made just one of five from behind the arc.
Second Quarter (Hawks 23, Mavericks 28)
In the second quarter, the Hawks and Mavs continued to trade baskets before the Mavs used a 8-2 run to take a 46-41 lead with 3:10 to go in the half. Dwight Powell fueled the run for the Mavericks scoring all eight points during the run. Atlanta pulled within two on a Collins’ dunk with 13.5 seconds remaining in the quarter but Harrison Barnes converted a three point play with 0.2 seconds left to give the Mavs a five point lead at the half.
Both benches were integral in the first half. The Hawks’ benched scored 23 of the Hawks’ 48 first half points (Collins 10, Cavanaugh 7, Delaney 4 and Taylor 2). The Mavs’s bench scored 25 (Powell 8, Harris 8, Ferrell 7) of the team’s 53 in the first half.
For the Hawks, Dennis Schroder was efficient on offense with six points, five assists and no turnovers. Ersan Ilyasova led the team with twelve points in the first half. The Mavs were led by Barnes with 9 points. Both teams combined for 33 assists on 40 field goals in the first half.
Third Quarter (Hawks 31, Mavericks 27)
In the third quarter, Dennis Schroder caught fire. After being more of a distributor in the first half, Schroder scored seven points in the Hawks’ first three possessions of the second half to tie the game at 55-55.
Budenholzer felt the quick transiton basket to open the half was important. “He caught a good rhythm coming out of halftime,” Budenholzer said about Schröder. “I think it started with the transition layup to start the third quarter.”
“I just tried to be aggressive,” Schröder agreed. “The layup might be the reason I started to get it going. Then from there on, I was just aggressive trying to attack Nowitzki and all of the big guys.”
After a Miles Plumlee dunk forced a Dallas timeout, Kent Bazemore scored seven consecutive points of his own to open a 64-59 Hawks’ lead with 7:43. The Hawks continued to dominate building a 75-65 lead with 4:5 remaining in the third quarter on a three pointer from Prince.
The Mavs then found their rhythm on offense to finish the quarter with a flurry of scoring. Turnovers and missed free throws by the Hawks allowed the Mavs to use a 15-4 run to close the quarter and carry a 80-79 lead into the fourth quarter.
Fourth Quarter (Hawks 33, Mavericks 27)
Starting the fourth quarter with Schroder on the bench, the Hawks used a three pointer by Ilyasova then another from Delaney to keep pace with a quick five points from Dirk Nowitzki and tie the game at 85-85.
Mike Budenholzer didn’t wait long to go back to Schroder and Bazemore bring his starting back court back with 10:19 to go in the game. Rick Carlisle stayed with his backup point guard who immediately used a three point play and then a layup on back to back possessions to push the Mavs to a 90-85 lead.
Then Dennis Schroder took over on the offensive end. In their next ten possessions, the Hawks scored 18 points, including 12 by Schroder. But they were trading baskets as the last six scores by the Hawks during this stretch either tied the game or gave the Hawks a one point lead.
Schroder broke a 107-107 tie with 1:21 remaining with yet another three pointer giving the Hawks the lead for good and tying a career high with 33 points.
The Hawks came up empty on their next two possessions but were able to get consecutive stops on defense to preserve the lead. Ilyasova iced the game with two free throws with 1.5 seconds remaining giving the Hawks a 112-107 victory heading into the Christmas holiday.
Schroder scored a total 15 points on six of nine shooting, three of four from the three point line. Ilyasova finished the game with 21 points while Collins (13), Bazemore (11) and Prince (10) also finished in double figures.
Harrison Barnes led the Mavs with 22, Nowitzki scored 18 while J.J. Barea contributed with 15 points and 12 assists of the bench.
The Hawks now enjoy a three day break over the Christmas holiday before taking on the Wizards at home on Wednesday night before playing six of the following seven games on the road.