Hawks survive late Kings rally

This time the Hawks responded before they trailed by more than 20 points.

The Hawks used a big second-quarter run to erase an early 12-point deficit and held on for dear life as they defeated the Kings 105-100 Tuesday night at Sleep Train Arena. It marked the 11th straight time the Hawks have defeated the Kings, including six in a row in California.

The Hawks trailed the Lakers by 21 points Sunday before a furious second-half rally came up two points short. On Tuesday they had to withstand a late rally. The Kings took advantage of eight fourth-quarter turnovers by the Hawks and trimmed a 19-point deficit to just one point. Al Horford had a basket and three free throws for the Hawks’ final five points to seal the win.

“There was a time when it got a little closer than all of us would have liked,” coach Mike Budenholzer said. “That’s the NBA. I don’t think there are any easy ones, whether it’s them or me, we all feel it. We want to protect that lead better in the future.”

Hawks general manager Danny Ferry was troubled after point guard Jeff Teague tripped over a baseline ball boy in the first quarter. Teague suffered a left ankle sprain and briefly left for the locker room to be re-taped. He returned in the second quarter and led the Hawks decisive run.

Ferry was visibly upset after the incident and followed Teague into the locker room.

“The courts can be obstacle courses because of the cameramen and team staff parked around its perimeter,” Ferry said. “It’s not safe. The league should address the issue more and I am hopeful they will in the near future. Until then teams need to do a better job enforcing the current standards. Player safety always has to be a huge priority.”

The Hawks (2-2) were led by Horford with 27 points and 10 rebounds. Paul Millsap also had a double-double with 25 points and 11 rebounds. Horford and Millsap combined to score 15 of the Hawks’ final 16 points. Teague added 18 points and 10 assists.

The Kings (1-3) were led by Isaiah Thomas with 26 points off the bench.

The Hawks started slowly and trailed by as many as 12 points early in the second quarter. The Kings took a 37-25 lead on Ben McLemore’s 3-pointer with 10:51 remaining but scored just four points – including just two field goals – the remainder of the half.

The Hawks outscored the Kings 29-13 in the second quarter to lead 54-45 at the intermission.

Teague had 14 points in the first half, including 10 in the second quarter after he returned from the sprained left ankle.

The Hawks pushed their lead to 82-65 after the third quarter. After scoring 32 points in the first quarter, the Kings combined to score 33 points in the second and third quarters. The Kings used a 23-7 fourth quarter run to pull within one point, 96-95, with 2:45 remaining. Moments earlier, Millsap gathered the Hawks before Thomas went to the free-throw line.

“Just finish the game,” Millsap said he told the team with 3:04 remaining. “Finish the game. It’s one of those moments when it seemed like everything was unraveling. Everybody is going different directions. I just wanted to get everyone together and let them know we are still in the same place, pull together and finish the game off.”

Kyle Korver extended his streak to 77 consecutive games with a 3-pointer. He is now one behind Dennis Scott for the third longest and two behind Michael Adams for the second longest streak in NBA history.

Teague, Horford and Korver all had two fourth-quarter turnovers and Millsap and DeMarre Carroll had one each.

“In the fourth quarter, they got hot and made plays,” Teague said. “We got the win and that’s all that matters.”