Even without their defensive star, the Atlanta Hawks ratcheted up the defensive intensity against the San Antonio Spurs. They built a nice lead as a result.
Jamal Crawford netted a game-high seven points to post the Hawks to a 21-16 lead over the Spurs through one quarter on Tuesday night at Philips Arena.
Al Horford and Joe Johnson have six points each for Atlanta, which shot 50-percent (10-for-20) from the field.
The reason that the Hawks are in this one is that they have limited the Spurs' opportunities on the fast break. San Antonio didn't record a fast break bucket in the first. Without the ability to run inside, they've relied on their outside game, which hasn't been up to par.
Tim Duncan and Tony Parker lead the Spurs with six points each, but San Antonio connected on just 8-of-20 (40-percent) from the field.
Manu Ginobili ended the first quarter without a bucket.
So did Josh Smith, but he's not playing in this one. His right knee swelled up and he was held out of what's basically a meaningless game for Atlanta. Jason Collins started at center, while Al Horford slid over to the power forward position at the start of this one.
Atlanta needs to continue to ramp up the defensive intensity if they want to eke out a win against the NBA's best and secure the No. 5 seed in the East.