SAN ANTONIO -- In about the same time it takes Tony Parker to drive to the basket, those stories about the slumping Spurs and streaking Hawks were outdated.
After the Spurs ran the Hawks out of the AT&T Center at the start of their 105-90 victory Wednesday night, you can also forget that angle about old and slow vs. young and athletic.
The Spurs had lost three consecutive home games for the first time since 1996-97. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich had expressed confidence that his team would snap out of their funk, and Hawks coach Mike Woodson also expected a big effort from the Spurs.
“From a coaching standpoint, you know those things will eventually work their way out,” Woodson said before the game. “I just hope it’s not against us.”
Woodson probably didn’t expect that the Hawks would give the Spurs so much help in getting right. The Hawks had won six of seven, including three in a row, but failed to compete early against the Spurs.
The Hawks appeared slow-footed and confused about their defensive assignments. They couldn’t make shots, either.
The Hawks couldn’t recover from that start despite a late rally, and San Antonio ended the Hawks' hopes of beating all three Texas teams on the road for the first time since 1990-91. The Hawks lost their 12th straight at San Antonio, where they haven’t won since Feb. 15, 1997.
“We’ve had some decent games, but we’ve never won,” Woodson said before the game. “To beat this team, I feel like we’ve got to be perfect for 48 minutes. We’ve got to keep the crowd out of it.”
The Hawks couldn't make it a decent game until it was too late, and fans in the AT&T Center had a blast.
Tony Parker was the main reason for their fun. The Spurs guard led a furious attack that resulted in a 36-21 lead after the first quarter. The lead grew to as many as 28 in the second.
The Hawks trailed 66-44 at halftime but tried to rally after Parker left the game with a sprained left ankle in the third quarter. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford got the Hawks within 84-72.
The Hawks were down 87-74 after three quarters, and Crawford’s jumper made the score 89-80 early in the fourth. But the Hawks couldn’t get closer as they missed a handful of shots near the basket.
Woodson spent much of Wednesday’s shootaround preparing the Hawks for the potent combination of Parker and Tim Duncan running the pick-and-roll.
“He and Nash and guys like Chris Paul are the best at what they do, the pick-and-roll,” Woodson said.
Parker hardly needed the benefit of picks against the Hawks. He just raced past whichever defender stood in front of him.
Parker constantly sliced to the basket while scoring 10 first-quarter points. It was too easy, particularly when just 4.9 seconds remained in the first quarter yet Parker took the ball from beyond half court and dribbled through the Hawks’ defense for a layup.
Zaza Pachulia fouled him on the play, and Parker made the free throw. The Spurs scored 16 of their 36 first-quarter points at the rim and had 18 fast-break points.