A new sign may soon hang in front of Philips Arena.
Wanted: Point guard. Inquire within.
In their first game without Lou Williams, lost for the season with a torn knee ligament, the Hawks lost Devin Harris to a sprained left ankle in the second half of Saturday’s 98-93 loss to the Spurs at Philips Arena.
Harris said he was unsure the extent of the injury but he walked with a severe limp after having his ankle X-rayed. The injury leaves the Hawks with just one point guard in Jeff Teague.
“Being down to one point guard we are certainly going to have to talk about getting somebody in here because we are really depleted right now,” said Hawks coach Larry Drew who added he would like to have another player within the next two days.
Harris was playing in his seventh game after missing 11 straight with a sore left foot.
The Spurs had their point guard in Tony Parker. That was enough.
Parker scored 23 points, including four key baskets down the stretch, to lift the Spurs who won with Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili on the bench in street clothes.
The Spurs also had Matt Bonner and Tiago Splitter. Strange, yes, but they played a big part in the victory. Bonner finished with 17 points and Splitter had four fourth-quarter baskets, three on offensive rebounds, as the Spurs built a double-digit lead.
The Hawks’ made a late comeback but Teague missed a layup and a 3-pointer on consecutive possessions and John Jenkins missed a 3-pointer with a minute left that would have pulled the Hawks within a point.
“They made plays and we missed easy shots, layups and things like that that we could have knocked down,” Teague said. “It happens during a game.”
The reeling Hawks (22-18) have lost two straight and eight of their past 10 games. Josh Smith had 21 points and Kyle Korver added 19 points. The Hawks were also without guards DeShawn Stevenson (right knee) and Anthony Morrow (back).
“It happens during season,” Teague said of the Hawks’ injuries. “It’s just happed at a difficult time for us right now, the ups and downs with the game. We just have to step up. We’ve got enough guys in this locker room who can make plays. We just have to continue to grind.”
The Spurs (32-11) won their fourth straight game. The Southwest Division leaders played without Duncan (rest) and Ginobili (left hamstring strain).
The Hawks started Harris in the second half in attempt to get more speed on the floor. They erased a 12-point deficit and took a brief lead in the third quarter. They led, 61-60, after a Smith basket with 4:47 remaining. It was the Hawks first lead since opening the game with a Korver 3-pointer.
The Spurs answered with eight straight points. However, the Hawks countered punched and tied the game at 70-70 on a 3-pointer by Harris with 50 seconds remaining. The Spurs took a two-point advantage into the decisive final quarter on a basket by DeJuan Blair.
“It was tough,” said Al Horford, who finished with nine points and 15 rebounds. “They made more plays than us down the stretch. I felt we played well, we played hard, moved the ball. You just have to give them credit. Tony Parker was great.”
The Spurs took a 10-point lead, 52-42, into halftime. They led by as many as 12 points early in the second half after an 11-0 run between the first and second quarters. The Hawks fought back and cut the lead to two points, 41-39, with a 14-5 run which included eight points from Korver. The Spurs went on an 11-1 run to regain the 12-point margin before a Teague layup at the buzzer.
Bonner had 11 first-half points for the Spurs after going 3-for-3 from 3-point range. Korver had 13 first-half points for the Hawks, including 3-pointers. His long-range basket to open the game marked the 34th straight game with a 3-pointer.
“They capitalized on all of our mistakes,” Smith said. “They are a great team. You get to see how good they are in person when you play against them.
“We’ll be OK. We just have to stay with it. We can’t worry about our mistakes but keep getting better as a team. It will get better.”
The Hawks are off Sunday before hosting the Timberwolves Monday afternoon on Martin Luther King Day.