Hardaway’s Lights-Out Night Propels Hawks Past Spurs

ATLANTA — Once the shots started to fall for Tim Hardaway Jr., his Atlanta teammates couldn’t get him the ball fast enough. The result was the end of a frustrating losing streak and perhaps some momentum to start the new year.

Hardaway was 11-for-13 from the field and 6-for-7 on 3-pointers to tie his career high with 29 points. Hardaway also made the go-ahead free throw in overtime, to help the Hawks break an 11-game losing streak against San Antonio, beating the Spurs 114-112 in overtime Sunday at Philips Arena.

San Antonio had a chance to tie the game at the buzzer but Kawhi Leonard’s layup rolled around the rim and spun out.

“Once you make one and then make another one, everything seems to come,” Hardaway said. “We came out today and played with a lot of pride.”

Hardaway scored 21 points in the second half and scored the first eight points in overtime. He made the first of two free throws with 10.8 seconds left in overtime to put Atlanta ahead for good. He able to get to the line when he hustled for a rebound following Paul Millsap’s miss and drew the non-shooting foul.

Millsap scored a season-high 32 points, including 17 in a row in the third and fourth quarters, to keep the Hawks within reach. Millsap had three 3-pointers, including two to end the third period, and added 13 rebounds and three assists.

“(Millsap) did a great job. So did Hardaway,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “Both of them were great down the stretch.”

Atlanta (18-16) won its third straight game and beat San Antonio for the first time since 2010. The Hawks also received 16 points and 10 assists from Dennis Schroder and Kyle Korver added 14 points with four 3s.

It was the first time in five tries that Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer has beaten former boss, for whom he was an assistant for 19 seasons.

“I’m happy for him,” Popovich said. “It was a great game. Guys played well. If we’re going to lose, it’s good to feel like somebody on the other end was made happy. It was a good win for those guys. It would have been a good win for us. I thought both teams played pretty well.”

San Antonio (27-7) had their four-game winning streak broken. The Spurs were led by LaMarcus Aldridge with 27 points and 13 rebounds and Tony Parker with 22 points and six assists. Pau Gasol had 18 points and nine rebounds, Leonard scored 13, but was only 3-for-12 from the field, and Manu Ginobli scored 10.

“It was great to get this win against a really good team,” Millsap said “It’s good to get it for Bud. He’s happy to have it under his belt.”

Atlanta tied the game at 100 when Hardaway made a 3-pointer, his fourth of the game, with 3.3 seconds remaining in regulation.

Atlanta led by six points in overtime after Schroder’s drive made it 110-104 with 2:32 left. But the Spurs went on an 8-2 run and tied it at 110 on Leonard’s 3 with 34.3 seconds left.

The game was tied six different times early in the third quarter before San Antonio went on a 9-0 run. The Spurs eventually stretched it to 10 when Gasol’s two free throws made it 70-60. A couple of 3s by Millsap allowed Atlanta to trim the lead to 74-69 after three periods.

Atlanta has won three in a row for the first time since its Nov. 16th win capped a six-game winning streak. But Hardaway was reluctant to say whether the team has turned the corner.

“That’s tough to say,” Hardaway said. “But we’ve started 2017 in the right direction.”

The win leaves Atlanta one game behind Boston for fourth place in the NBA’s Eastern Conference.

NOTES: The loss was the first for San Antonio when leading after three quarters. It was the first loss for the Spurs this season when G Tony Parker has scored double figures. … San Antonio F Kawhi Leonard was a game-time decision and started. He made the trip with the team to Atlanta even though he missed the last two games with stomach flu and was listed as questionable. … Atlanta sent F Mike Scott to a D-League assignment with the Long Island Nets. It’s the fourth D-League trip for Scott, who is trying to recover from a knee injury. … Atlanta F Ryan Kelly returned to the club after missing two games due to the birth of his daughter. … Atlanta begins a four-game road trip on Wednesday. San Antonio returns home to host Toronto on Tuesday.

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