The Hawks went toe-to-toe with the best of the West Monday night.
And came up just short.
Kevin Durant scored with 1.5 seconds remaining to give the Thunder a 111-109 victory over the Hawks at the Chesapeake Arena.
Durant tied the game, 107-107, with 2:11 remaining. The Hawks followed with a shot-clock violation but Durant missed a jumper coming the other way. Shelvin Mack missed but got his own rebound. Paul Millsap then got a rebound of a Mike Scott miss as the Hawks retained possession with under 45 seconds remaining. However, Millsap was called for travelling with 34.5 seconds left.
Durant hit a jumper, off a shove of DeMarre Carroll, with 25.5 seconds left to give the Thunder a 109-107 lead, their first advantage since a 2-0 start.
Millsap scored less than three seconds later for another tie setting up Durant’s final shot.
The Hawks attempt to get the ball to Millsap for a final chance failed.
The Hawks (23-21) lost their third straight to Thunder, including December matchup in Atlanta.
Millsap led seven double-digit scorers for the Hawks with 23 points. Mike Scott (16), Mack (15), DeMarre Carroll (15), Kyle Korver (14), Lou Williams (10) and Dennis Schroder (10) were the others. Gustavo Ayon had 10 rebounds.
Korver extended his NBA-record streak to 113 games with a 3-pointer.
The Thunder (36-10) won their eighth straight.
Durant, who entered the game as the NBA’s leading scorer at 31.1 points, improved his average with a game-high 41 points. It was the 11th straight game the Thunder star scored 30 or more points.
“I think he is an incredible player,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said before the game. “For him to put this streak together maybe stands out but I’ve just seen him have so many good games in pressure situations, playoff situations. He never surprises me. It’s a credit to him and how good he is.”
The Hawks took an 87-79 lead into the final quarter.
The Hawks led by as many as 11 points in the first quarter and 14 points in the second quarter. They took a 57-50 lead into the intermission.
Five of their first six Hawks’ baskets were 3-pointers and they finished the first half shooting 8 of 11 from beyond the arc. Mack hit three of the 3-pointers, all in a row, as the Hawks jumped out early.
“Earlier this year, I called him a young veteran,” Budenholzer said before the game. “He has a good way about him. He is confident. He is ready whenever you need him, whatever the situation is.”
Schroder hit two of the first-half 3-pointers en route to matching his career-high of 10 points in just two quarters.
The Hawks used a 9-0 run in the second quarter to lead by 14, 55-41, before the Thunder ended the half with three straight 3-pointers, two by Durant.
The Hawks host the Pistons Wednesday.
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Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC