Hawks 102, Mavericks 96
ATLANTA (AP)—The wounded Atlanta Hawks, down to nine healthy players, need their long All-Star break in the worst way—as long as it doesn’t affect what’s happening on the court.
Reserves Dan Dickau and Chris Crawford were in for seven minutes each, all before halftime, leaving the Hawks with essentially seven players. With the injured list already full, reserves Travis Hansen (ankle), Jacque Vaughn (ankle) and Alan Henderson (back) simply take up space at the end of the bench.
“We hardly got enough people for a layup line,” Ratliff said before learning of the trade. “And I don’t even want to talk about trying to practice. We’ve got a lot of bodies injured.”
The Hawks improved to 8-7 over their past 15 games, including three victories in four games. The first of those was over the Minnesota Timberwolves, another top team from the Western Conference.
Atlanta had lost nine straight to Dallas since Jan. 14, 1998, and earned an extra day off when coach Terry Stotts canceled a practice scheduled for Tuesday.
“I thought everybody out there was committed to getting a win,” Stotts said. “There were some rough spots, but there are always going to be rough spots. It’s a great way to go into the All-Star break.”
“They’ve been a tough team lately,” Nowitzki said. “We should have been better than that. We have to be more focused.”
The Hawks don’t play again until Feb. 18, getting an uncommonly long hiatus that stretches through the All-Star game. The challenge will be keeping their solid play going after the layoff.
Dallas led 72-69 at the start of the fourth quarter before Atlanta put together its best stretch this season.
Jackson started the final period by driving for a three-point play against a zone, and Dion Glover followed with a layup off a nifty pass from Terry. After a turnover by the Mavericks, Jackson added another layup—again off a feed from Terry—and the Hawks led by five.
“Anytime I play a Texas team, I’ve got to make them sing the blues,” said Jackson, who helped the San Antonio Spurs win the NBA title last season.
Dallas got within three a couple of times, the final time on a dunk by Finley with 8:31 left. But the Hawks sealed it at the free throw line. In the fourth quarter, they were 14-of-19.
“We just got our (butts) beat in about every facet of the game,” Mavericks coach Don Nelson said. “I never thought that we were really in it mentally like we needed to be. I think it was clear from the first quarter.”
Atlanta finished with seven layups in the fourth quarter.
“That was just coming out, being aggressive in transition and not waiting to see what they were going to do,” Terry said. “We were swinging at them all night. They’re not known for their defense, so offensively, you know you’regoing to get good looks.”
Rookie Boris Diaw scored a season-high 10 points. … The Hawks set a season-high with 36 points in the first quarter. In the next two quarters combined, they had 33. … The Mavericks return home to play the New York Knicks on Tuesday night, their final game before the All-Star break. … Atlanta G Jacque Vaughn missed his third straight game with a sprained ankle…. Dallas fell to 13-7 against the East.