0

Teague, Korver come up huge in Hawks victory

ATLANTA - With great guard play on display all evening, the Atlanta Hawks’ backcourt duo was a bit too much for Sacramento’s pair.

Jeff Teague tied a career-high with 15 assists and Kyle Korver tied a career-high with eight 3-pointers as part of a dominant shooting night for the Hawks in a 124-107 victory Wednesday at Philips Arena.

Atlanta, which won for the 12th consecutive time in the series, hit 58 percent of its shots from the floor and a season-high 60 percent on 3-pointers.

Teague, a fourth-year guard from Wake Forest who is blossoming into one of the NBA’s top point guards, added 18 points and was two rebounds shy of a triple-double.

“I think Jeff had a great mindset. He made a lot of good decisions and a lot of good plays,” said Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer.

Sacramento point guard Isaiah Thomas was excellent as well, handing out 10 assists and adding 20 points, while fellow backcourt mate Rudy Gay hit 8-of-13 shots for 22 points.

Gay was held to four points in the fourth quarter, but his assist on a lay up by Jimmer Fredette got the Kings (7-17) to within 95-93 at the 9:27 mark. Korver knocked down a pair of threes and added a banked-in jumper and less than two minutes later it was a 103-95 game.

“Kyle gets threes a lot of different ways. Shooters have to make shots and tonight was one of those nights where we were fortunate and we had a lot of guys make shots,” said Budenholzer. “I think the ball movement and the shooting were both to be commended (and) our guards were attacking, penetrating, and being aggressive.”

The guards weren’t the only ones to marvel at Wednesday. The paint match up between Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins and the Hawks’ Al Horford lived up to its billing. Cousins made half of his 20 field goal attempts and had 28 points - 17 coming in the second half - while dishing out six assists from his post position. Horford did a bit of everything with 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Horford scored 12 of his points over the final seven minutes, helping Atlanta (14-12) pull away and defeat Sacramento at home for the seventh straight time.

In a high-scoring third quarter - the teams combined for 65 points and 59 percent shooting - Sacramento led by as much as five points at 74-69 as Thomas had one of his five assists in the period on a bucket by Gay.

Later, Thomas fed Derrick Williams, who drained a 3-pointer that sent the Kings into the final period up 87-85.

Mike Scott made an important contribution off the bench for Atlanta, scoring 10 points, including two threes early in the fourth. The second long-range shot came off a feed from reserve guard Shelvin Mack (six assists) two minutes into the quarter that gave the Hawks the lead for good at 93-91.

Sacramento took its first lead of the night as Fredette came off the bench to hit a fadeaway jumper and a 3-pointer, and Cousins put back his own miss for a 33-30 Kings’ cushion two and a half minutes into the second.

Atlanta held a 47-40 advantage after two of Teague’s 10 first-half points on a lay up with 4:34 left in the first half.

The Hawks kept that lead until Gay hit a short jumper that sent the Kings into the locker room up 54-53.

Gay, playing in his fourth game with the Kings after being traded from Toronto, had four early points, including a nice jumper along the base line to get the visitors to within 8-6 early on.

Atlanta answered with a 7-0 run in a minute and a half, which included a 3-pointer from Korver that extended the guard’s NBA-record streak of consecutive games with a 3-pointer to 95.

It was 15-10 before the Hawks, aided by hot long range shooting, went on another first quarter spurt. Korver made another 3-pointer and Paul Millsap added a pair of his own as Atlanta built its largest lead of the half at 26-12 with just over three minutes remaining in the opening quarter.

After a time out, the Kings got going. Thanks to Thomas, who drained a pair of 3-pointers and Cousins, who had five points and an assist, Sacramento ended the first quarter on a 14-2 run and trailed just 28-26 heading to the second.

“I liked the way our group started tonight and I like the way our group finished tonight,” said Budenholzer. “I think in the middle there’s a lot of things for us to work on, in particular defensively. That’s always the goal, we’re trying to get to 48 minutes of good defense and good offense.”

Atlanta will get its chance when it hosts the Utah Jazz tonight at 7:30 p.m.