The high-flying Atlanta Hawks staked a claim to the title of NBA’s best team on Friday with a 124-116 victory over the Golden State Warriors.
In an exciting clash between Eastern Conference leaders Atlanta and Western Conference pace-setters Golden State, the Hawks connected on 15 of 27 attempts from three-point range to beat the sharp-shooting Warriors at their own game.
Seven Hawks players scored in double figures, with Jeff Teague leading a balanced and potent attack with 23 points.
Kyle Korver paced the Hawks’ long-range display with five three-pointers in a 17-point effort, while Mike Scott hit three-of-three from three-point range in delivering 17 points off the bench.
Paul Millsap added 21 points and Al Horford had 12 along with 14 rebounds and six assists for Atlanta, who notched their 21st win in their last 22 games.
The surprising Hawks are hoping they can keep the momentum going as they seek their first NBA title since 1958, when the franchise was based in St Louis.
As usual, the Warriors got a big contribution from the “Splash Brothers” duo of Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry, who combined for 55 points.
Thompson scored 29 and Curry shook off a sluggish start to score 26.
Warriors forward Draymond Green contributed 12 points and a career-high 20 rebounds in defeat.
“We already know that we are a good team,” Teague said. “We believe in ourselves. We come out every night and believe we can win every game. This was just another game.”
But before the game, Golden State’s Green spoke about the significance of the clash, a marquee match-up between two teams that have seized the spotlight as such glamor clubs as the Lakers and Celtics have languished this season.
“We can sit here and say, ‘Oh, it’s just another game,'” Green said. “And for the standings it is.”
“But it’s the two top records in the league. That means a lot.”
With the win, the Hawks improved to 42-9, while Golden State fell to 39-9.
The Hawks snapped a five-game losing streak to the Warriors. They are 13-3 against Western Conference teams this season.
“It feels good,” Korver said. “That is a really good team. That’s a really dangerous team. They can get hot. They can get cold. They can get really hot all in the same game. They are really hard to prepare for. We knew we had to play a good 48-minute game to beat them.”
The Warriors, who haven’t won a championship since 1975, will try to bounce back on Saturday when they continue their road trip against the Knicks in New York. – Agence France-Presse