That’s one way to head out on long road trip.
The Hawks set several franchise records and season-highs in a 130-105 win over the Kings Monday night. The happy recap looked like this:
* The Hawks became the first team in the NBA to reach 50 wins (the Warriors would do it later in the night), marking the first time in league history Atlanta reached the mark first.
* They set a franchise record of 20 3-pointers with 12 in the first half matching the record for treys in any half.
* They set a Philips Arena record with 53 made field goals by the franchise.
* They handed out 42 assists, an NBA season-high.
* They set season highs for points in a game (130), half (76) and quarter (43).
“We want to be good on both ends of the court,” said Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer, known to stress defense to his team. “We want to make it difficult on the defensive end and lay our hat there. We definitely want to be effective (offensively) and move people and find opportunities around the rim and the 3-point line. Tonight, was one of those night where we can do both and have a high-scoring game. We’ll take it.”
Off the win, the Hawks head out on the longest road trip of the season – a six-game, 11-day journey to Denver, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Golden State and Oklahoma City. It’s quite possible the team with a 30-4 home record, the best in the Eastern Conference and second-best in the NBA, could clinch its division and perhaps even conference on the road. The Hawks’ magic numbers are four in the Southeast Division and eight in the Eastern Conference.
Paul Millsap was asked about the postgame message from Budenholzer following the win with a big road trip about to start. He smiled.
“He really didn’t say anything, to be honest with you,” Millsap said. “It’s just another win to him.”
The Hawks play three of the four worst teams in the Western Conference to start the trip, including a rematch with the Kings.
The team will continue to take its one-game-at-a-time approach into the final 19 games of the regular season. They brushed off last week’s win over the Cavaliers, a team many believe they could play in the Eastern Conference finals. Kyle Korver said that win was the next big game on the schedule and nothing more. You see, another big game will follow.
Sure enough, in a season where the Hawks have proven themselves time and again, that next big game awaits in a rematch with the West-leading Warriors on March 18. The Hawks defeated the Warriors, 124-116 on Feb. 6 at Philips Arena, in a game many pundits saw as an NBA Finals preview.
The Hawks can look back at the record-setting win over the Kings but with an eye toward the bigger goal. The postseason is a month away.
“We are trying to do something special,” Korver said Monday night. “If you approach every day the right way, good things happen along the way. That’s all this is. I don’t think anyone is going to go home and brag about it or write home to mom. It was fun night.”
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