Slumping Hawks bounce back to beat Grizzlies

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

ATLANTA -- Coach Larry Drew and his Atlanta Hawks have had it with losing. It was draining.
Tempers were flaring as the team fell from third to sixth in the Eastern Conference standings.
But Wednesday night, on the second night of back-to-back games, the Hawks came out running and never let up, beating the Memphis Grizzlies 103-92 at Philips Arena.
"You could see Memphis was laboring a little bit to get up and down," Hawks coach Larry Drew said. "We were trying to put an emphasis on really pushing the ball."
Jeff Teague fired early and often for the Hawks and took control of the pace of the game, scoring 16 of his 22 points in the first half. He had a double-double by 8:38 in the third quarter and finished with a season-high 13 assists.
"I'm just playing, trying to get wins," Teague said. "Doing whatever it takes to win."
Josh Smith had 19 points, 11 rebounds and six assists for Atlanta, while Al Horford, who was in foul trouble early, added 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Both teams played a brisk first quarter, executing so well that there was only a single turnover between them. There was 1:07 remaining in the period when the Grizzlies' Mike Conley lost the ball out of bounds.
Then the Hawks (27-21) picked up the pace in the second quarter, and the Grizzlies' defense flagged, allowing Atlanta to open up a 10-point lead halfway through the quarter with a barrage of 3-point shots. Rookie John Jenkins made three of the five 3-pointers that the Hawks sank in the quarter.
Kyle Korver made a 3-point shot for the 42nd consecutive game, the longest streak of his career, tying the Hawks' franchise record set by Mookie Blaylock from March 26, 1996, to Jan. 11, 1997. Korver finished with 12 points.
The Hawks would have led by 13 points at the half had Teague not fouled Conley as the Memphis point guard shot a 3-pointer at the buzzer. Conley made all three of the foul shots.
The Grizzlies (30-18) came into the game leading the NBA in points allowed per game, 89.7, but they allowed the Hawks to score 58 points in the first half.
"We couldn't stop the pick-and-roll," Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said. "They just did what they wanted with the pick and roll. And then we helped, over-helped, and guys were left open all over the court."
As the Grizzlies fell further behind in the third quarter -- by as many as 23 points -- the starters gave way to the bench players, so Memphis' stars finished with more modest totals than usual. Zach Randolph had 20 points and seven rebounds, Marc Gasol had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Conley finished with 17 points and eight assists.
"They outplayed us, one through 12," said Memphis' Tony Allen, who had a quiet six points and five rebounds. "They outplayed us. Seemed like we had no emotion in the game. There was no griminess to it. There was no grittiness to it. Once they made plays, it was like we put our heads down."
NOTES: The Hawks were without Zaza Pachulia again. He has missed four straight games and five of the past seven with a sore right Achilles. ... Because the Hawks played Tuesday, losing to the Pacers 114-103 in Indianapolis, DeShawn Stevenson was not available. His knees prevent him from playing in back-to-back games. ... Devin Harris, who did not travel to Indiana due to a sore left foot, was available but did not start. ... Drew started Anthony Tolliver at small forward to put some length on the Grizzlies' Tayshaun Prince. ... Ed Davis was back in the arena where he found out he was being traded to the Grizzlies from the Toronto Raptors exactly one week ago, on Jan. 30. Hollins noted that, for all the players acquired in trade that day -- Davis, Prince and Austin Daye -- it was the first time any of them had ever been traded. "That's a tough one," he said.

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