It was a solid effort, but late game execution once again cost Atlanta.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the Hawks’ lack of talent and experience in the fourth quarter of a close game led to a loss. After they were leading most of the way, the Hawks’ offense could not get shots to fall in the last few minutes of the game and the Grizzlies capitalized.
The Hawks’ defense had an impressive showing in the first half, allowing only 40 points for the Grizzlies. Atlanta led by 7 at halftime. Guard Dennis Schroder showed an easy ability to get to the rim and Memphis center Marc Gasol had clear issues blocking Schroder’s floaters and layups.
The Grizzlies shaved 6 points off of the Hawks’ advantage in the third quarter, making it a one point game heading into the fourth. For the first ten minutes of the quarter, the Hawks were able to keep Memphis at arm’s length thanks in large part to a solid quarter from Taurean Prince. However, as has been the case so often for Atlanta this season, the Grizzlies mounted a comeback in the last two minutes. A Mario Chalmers three pointer tied the game at 94 and a Tyreke Evans floater gave Memphis the two point advantage. After the two teams came up with empty possessions, Atlanta had the ball back with one final chance to tie or win the game. Ersan Ilyasova forced a corner three that likely should have been called a foul before Kent Bazemore ended up with the ball in the corner. His three point attempt fell off the rim and the Grizzlies escaped with the victory.
Dennis Schroder and Kent Bazemore scored 18 and 19 respectively for Atlanta, while Taurean Prince poured in 17. Mario Chalmers had somewhat of a career revival game for the Grizzlies with 16 points, while noted Hawk-killer Tyreke Evans scored 22.
This loss is the fourth in a row for the Hawks, who now sit at a lowly 6-23 on the season. Atlanta will get a long weekend off before hosting the Miami Heat on Monday night.