The Atlanta Hawks took it to the San Antonio Spurs for most of the first half. Unfortunately, they had a little bit of a letdown in the final few minutes. The good news is that they still have the lead.
Jamal Crawford has 13 points and Al Hoford 10 to lead the Hawks to a 46-43 edge over the Spurs at the break on Tuesday night at Philips Arena.
Marvin Williams, Joe Johnson and Jeff Teague posted six points each for Atlanta, which can secure the No. 5 seed in the East with a win.
Atlanta built its lead the old fashioned way -- closing off the lane on defense, making the Spurs take more jump shots and making transition buckets off of misses.
"I think we came out an established ourselves defensively," Williams told SportSouth at the break. "We got some easy baskets. We have to come out the same way in the second half."
Atlanta took a 42-31 lead on a jumper by Horford with 4:57 left in the second. But the Spurs answered with a 12-4 spurt down the stretch to make it a ballgame.
Along the way, Jason Collinstwisted an ankle as he tried to defend Tim Duncan in the paint. The good news is that he walked off the court under his own power. The bad news is that he immediately headed to the locker room and is out for the night.
Collins has been impressive fronting the league's biggest of bigs and gave the Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard all sorts of fits the last time the two teams met. With a first round playoff matchup looming against the Magic, Atlanta can ill afford to lose Collins for any extended period of time.
Tim Duncan has 14 points and Tony Parker eight for a San Antonio team that has dropped six of its last seven games.