Larry Drew called his team's defensive performance in the first half as embarrassing. Through three quarters of play the Hawks had surrendered 82 points to the Sacramento Kings and trailed by nine as the fourth quarter began. Atlanta was able to dig in during the fourth period, propelling themselves on a 13-0 run that saw them take their first lead of the game.
However, Sacramento wasn't going to go away quietly. With the Hawks up 96-90, the Kings switched to a zone defense and tied the game just three possessions later. A Joe Johnson reverse lay up gave the Hawks a two point advantage 98-96 with just 23 seconds left in the game. Sacramento came right back with a Tyreke Evans lay in that tied the game back up at 98 with just over 11 seconds on the clock. On the ensuing possession, the Hawks spread the floor for Joe Johnson who was fouled by Tyreke Evans with just 0.6 seconds on the clock. Two free throws later and the Hawks had an improbable victory.
Johnson led all scorers with 36 points on 16-27 shooting. He also added five rebounds and five assists in the game. Al Horford finished with 23 points, nine rebounds, six assists, and a career high seven blocks. Kings rookie Demarcus Cousins led Sacramento with 20 points while Jason Thompson and Tyreke Evans both added 16 points apiece.
This game serves as a reminder that in the NBA any team is capable of pulling an upset. Sacramento outworked the Hawks for much of this game holding a decisive advantage rebounding and in points in the paint. For the game the Kings outscored the Hawks 60-42 in the paint with the Hawks closing that gap significantly late. Seventeen offensive rebounds also played a huge part in building Sacramento's lead.
The Hawks fly out immediately after this game to Miami for tomorrow's match-up with the Heat. For more coverage on this game please visit Peachtree Hoops.