The Hawks stayed within sight of a win, but still fell to the San Antonio Spurs 111-104 at State Farm Arena Wednesday night.
The Hawks were down two when DeAndre Bembry hit a 3-pointer with under four minutes to play to close the deficit to 98-96. But Davis Bertans made a three for the Spurs for a 103-96 lead with less than three minutes left in the game.
The Hawks were not going to give up. Trae Young hit a layup to make it 103-100. LaMarcus Aldridge, who led all scorers with 32 points, responded with a basket and a free throw to keep the Spurs ahead.
They built their lead to seven with under one minute to play and held on to the buzzer.
“We didn’t play great basketball, but we competed all night,” Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce said. “We didn’t knock the shots down that we needed to knock down early, ball got stuck a lot and Trae had a tough defender guarding him all night.”
The Hawks also lost a player when Alex Poythress suffered an ankle injury during the fourth quarter.
“His ankle is swollen up pretty good, and I can tell you right now he will be out for a while,” Pierce said. “So it’s unfortunate because he had been playing well.”
Vince Carter of the Hawks was called for a technical foul in the final six minutes of the game, allowing Aldridge to shoot a free throw to increase the Spurs’ lead to 91-86. Carter answered with a 3-pointer to pull the Hawks within two. Two free throws from Kent Bazemore tied the game at 91 with five minutes to play.
Young struggled with his shot in the first half, scoring just two points, but finished the game with 22 to lead the Hawks. John Collins, who returned to the lineup after missing the previous three games due to illness, scored 18.
“I got back in here (at halftime) and watched a little bit of how they were guarding me and watched a little bit of how I could attack their defense,” Young said. “I came out in the third quarter and knew exactly how they were going to be guarding me and I was able to get to my spot.”
The Hawks looked to make a move in the first half when Bazemore nailed a 3-pointer with 59 seconds to play. It gave the Hawks their first lead. Taurean Prince followed with a field goal on the Hawks’ next possession to end the half with a 56-53 lead.
Prince was later ejected with 7:28 to play in the third quarter for what Pierce said was a bad choice of words. Aldridge capitalized on the opportunity for the Spurs to hit two free throws for a 67-63 lead. Prince finished with nine points and five rebounds.
“Only thing I can say is you’ve got to be disciplined, and we all argue, myself included,” Pierce said. “Vince got one tonight, TP (Prince) gets two, it’s a matter of how we communicate.”
The Hawks fell to 22-44 while the Spurs improved to 37-29.
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