Atlanta Hawks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. (10) goes to the basket against the defense of Denver Nuggets center Jusuf Nurkic, of Bosnia, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, March 17, 2016, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis) The Associated Press
Thursday night, the Hawks won their 4th straight game over the Denver Nuggets 116-98. The team executed on both ends of the floor. Denver had no answer for Tim Hardaway Jr., who started his first game for Atlanta in place of Kent Bazemore, who sat out with a bruised knee. Kent is expected to return to the lineup tonight but this was Timmy’s night as he scored a season-high 21 points on 6/11 shooting and 2/4 from 3-point range. He also got to the line 8 times.”It was just a complete game,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “He’s competing on both ends of the court. He’s making things happen.” In the beginning of the game, everything started with fast pace and no hesitation. The Hawks hit a lull in the 2nd quarter where their once 16 point lead evaporated. The Hawks regained control in the 3rd quarter before shutting the Nuggets down in the 4th. The Hawks had a total of 33 assists, which led them to shoot exactly 50% from the field. Each player in the starting unit scored in double digits. Outside of the 2nd quarter, Denver didn’t make many runs because of Atlanta’s hard-nosed defense that’s one of the best in the league. Hawks’ forward, Paul Millsap was the only Hawk with a double-double of 16 points & 11 rebounds. Dennis Schroder, Thabo Sefolosha, and Kris Humphries each scored double digits off the bench. Sefolosha led the second unit with a total of 14 points. On Denver’s side, Gary Harris led the way with 15 points; Mudiay tagged in 12. Danillo Galinari missed his eighth game with a sprained right ankle. Hawks’ fanbase aren’t only excited for the big win, but the look of the Eastern standings is putting a lot of smiles on their faces. Hawks are currently sitting 3rd place in the East. Atlanta has won 9 out of their last 11 games. As for Bazemore, he’s expected to play tonight, as he is listed as “probable” when the Hawks face James Harden and the Houston Rockets. As the season is coming down the stretch, it’s extremely critical for the Hawks to continue with their consistency going forward. There are only 13 games left of the season. Therefore, if Atlanta’s goal is to obtain home court advantage when the postseason begins, remaining the 3rd or 4th seed becomes a priority. If the Hawks continue to play at this high level, the playoffs will be exciting times! GO HAWKS!!!