ATLANTA (TICKER) —For the final 12 minutes, it was hard to tell which team is among the league’s elite.
Glenn Robinson scored 11 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter and Jason Terry hit three 3-pointers in the final period as the Atlanta Hawks snapped a six-game losing streak with a 115-104 triumph over the Sacramento Kings.
Robinson made three of his four shots down the stretch and Terry missed just one of his four from beyond the arc in the closing moments as Atlanta won for the first time this season when trailing after three quarters.
“I was proud of our team. That was probably our best offensive game since I started coaching,” said Hawks coach Terry Stotts, who improved to 4-12 since taking over the team on December 26. “To beat arguably the best team in the NBA, it was the kind of game you want to win.”
“Tonight was a big game. Everybody played well and chipped in,” Robinson added. “It was major. They probably are the best team in the NBA. It was huge for us. It gives us confidence as a team.”
Terry tied a season high with 13 assists and Shareef Abdur-Rahim had 11 points, nine rebounds and six assists for the Hawks, who snapped a four-game losing streak to the Kings.
Sacramento, playing for the fourth time in five nights, used just eight players, got only 11 points from its reserves and lost for just the fourth time in 14 games against Eastern Conference opponents.
“We didn’t defend the ball. We talked about this team having really good scorers, and offensively they can get things going,” Kings coach Rick Adelman said. “That is what happened in the second half.”
Chris Webber led Sacramento with 32 points, 13 rebounds and six assists.
“They are a good team, but we should have played much better,” Webber said. “You have to give them credit. They had lost six in a row and we knew they would be primed and ready to try and get a win tonight. We can only blame ourselves or give them credit because they played well. They earned it.”
Sacramento entered the game with a 32-11 record - second best in the NBA - and the Kings bolted to a 20-10 lead 5:16 into the contest. The Pacific Division leaders had a 57-49 halftime edge and were up 76-71 with 3:53 to go in the third quarter.
Atlanta, which entered the game with the third-worst record in the Eastern Conference, did not fold, scoring 12 of the final 20 points in the fourth quarter to close within, 84-83.
Robinson opened the scoring in the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer that gave Atlanta a lead, but the contest was tied, 97-97, with 4:54 to go. Recently signed Corey Benjamin found Terry for a 3-pointer and had a reverse layup around a jumper by Webber.
Webber had a free throw with 3:16 left to get the Kings within 102-100, but Abdur-Rahim found Robinson for a 3-pointer 12 seconds later for a five-point bulge.
Sacramento then came apart as Mike Bibby missed a layup, Peja Stojakovic committed a turnover and Vlade Divac fouled Robinson, who made both shots for a 107-100 lead with 2:225 remaining. The Kings never got closer than five the rest of the way.
“It’s just about sharing the ball,” Terry said. “It is not a secret, all the teams do it. The key was getting key stops and staying focused. We didn’t have that lapse we normally have. We knew our time would come.”
“We just hung in there and played well,” Robinson said. “We kept fighting and plugging away. We just beat Sacramento. That means we can beat any team in the NBA. We just want to build on this.”
Stojakovic made 9-of-16 shots and finished with 24 points but Sacramento’s starting five combined to commit 17 turnovers and make just 4-of-11 shots from beyond the arc.
“We turned it over too many times, and defensively you can’t win on the road if you are going to do that,” Adelman said. “They did some good things. Terry and Robinson are really good players, Shareef is good, but we had so many breakdowns where we allowed easy shots, and you just can’t do that against a team at home.”
Terry finished with 23 points while Nazr Mohammed had 16 points and six rebounds in 21 minutes. Benjamin had 14 points and seven rebounds off the bench.
“They are one of the better teams in the league,” Mohammed said. “We have to think about what we did tonight.