"We have been a pretty good road team with a specific game plan [and] knowing the best way to play to give us the best chance to win."
Drew said the Hawks had to prevent Spurs point guard Tony Parker from dominating on pick-and-rolls with Tim Duncan. The Hawks also wanted to limit San Antonio's chances on fast breaks.
Atlanta limited San Antonio's running, holding the Spurs to just seven fast break points and Duncan scored just 12 points. But Parker proved to be too tough to handle for much of the game and San Antonio's closing barrage of 3-pointers finally finished the Hawks.
Parker had 17 points and six assists while slicing into the interior of Atlanta's defense. Atlanta was outscored 37-23 in the fourth quarter and San Antonio improved its league-best record to 19.3
"They are one of the better pick-and-roll teams in our league," Drew said. "Parker, he is just really good at it. He is one of the best in the league because of the speed, the quickness. He reads the defenses really well coming off the pick-and-roll."
In addition to Parker's playmaking, the Hawks were hurt by center Al Horford's foul trouble and Josh Smith's leg cramps that limited him in the second half. The Hawks managed to stay in the game until the Spurs started raining in 3-pointers.
After Duncan scored on a bank shot late in the third quarter, Horford came back to score over Duncan and cut San Antonio's lead to 65-64.
Atlanta couldn't score on its next two possessions and was down 71-66 after Matt Bonner's basket. Marvin Williams made a 3-pointer at the third quarter buzzer to pull the Hawks within 71-69, then Damien Wilkins and Mo Evans scored to give them a 73-71 lead.
That was Atlanta's first lead since 37-35 but it couldn't hold it. The Spurs regained the lead on Manu Ginobili's 3-point play that made it 76-73 and they never gave it back.
After Hawks guard Jamal Crawford scored to make it 76-75, the Spurs responded with 13-4 run capped by Richard Jefferson's 3-pointer. Williams and Smith scored to cut the lead to 91-86 but George Hill and Jefferson made back-to-back 3-pointers to turn back Atlanta.
Crawford scored 23 points for Atlanta, including 15 in the first half. Horford's 19 points and nine rebounds were offset by 16 points and 12 rebounds by Spurs forward DeJuan Blair.