Hawks return home to face Spurs

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Atlanta Hawks are back home after a long journey, but won't be able to dodge another stiff challenge with the San Antonio Spurs in town Sunday afternoon.

The Hawks went 3-3 on their trek and closed it out with Friday's 123-115 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Hawks were the victim of another triple- double by Thunder star Russell Westbrook, who registered 36 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds.

Pero Antic and Dennis Schroder scored 22 and 21 points, respectively, off the bench to lead the Hawks and Paul Millsap posted 19 points. DeMarre Carroll had 15 points and Al Horford posted 10 and 11 boards for Atlanta, which shot 50 percent for the game and clinched the Southeast Division title when the Washington Wizards lost to the LA Clippers Friday night.

"It's good for us to be in this environment," Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. "It will do us a lot of good."

It was Atlanta's first division title since capturing the Central crown back in 1993-94. The Hawks fell to 21-7 against the West this season and shoot for a sixth straight win at home.

The Eastern Conference-leading Hawks are 30-4 at home and will visit Orlando Wednesday.

Hawks 3-point specialist Kyle Korver hasn't played since suffering a broken nose March 15 against the Lakers and is questionable Sunday.

San Antonio will play its next two games on the road against Atlanta and Dallas, and has a 17-17 record away from the Alamo City.

The defending champion Spurs are coming off a 101-89 defeat of the Boston Celtics on Friday night, as they raced out to a 32-19 lead after the first quarter. Kawhi Leonard scored 22 points, Tiago Splitter added 18 and Tony Parker posted 15 points and seven assists.

"I feel like we're getting our rhythm back," Spurs forward Tim Duncan said.

Duncan and the Spurs have prevailed nine times over the past 11 games and sit sixth in the West standings.

San Antonio won the first meeting with Atlanta, 94-92, on Nov. 5 at the AT&T Center and Manu Ginobili scored seven of his 12 points from the free throw line, including two in the closing seconds that proved to be the difference. Ginobili is currently out with an ankle injury.

Duncan had 17 points and 13 rebounds, while Millsap and Carroll countered with 17 points apiece. The Spurs have won eight straight against the Hawks and 15 of the last 16 meetings.