Horford helps Hawks down Thunder
Oklahoma City, OK – Al Horford netted 23 points and ripped down 12 rebounds as the Atlanta Hawks held off the Oklahoma City Thunder, 104-95, on Sunday at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Louis Williams scored 19 points, including 14 in the final quarter, while Jeff Teague helped the cause with 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting to go with five assists.
Ivan Johnson contributed 10 points in a 12-plus minute run off the bench for the Hawks, who won their third consecutive road opener.
"We're a good team and we're getting to know each other, so this is big for us," Horford said. "To win on the road gives us a lot of confidence."
Kevin Martin dropped in a game-high 28 points, Kevin Durant was a pair of assists shy of his first career triple-double, finishing with 22 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists.
Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka donated 14 points each for the Thunder, who turned the ball over 21 times.
"We shouldn't be going back and forth with them," Durant said. "We're a defensive team and our defense let us down tonight."
Trailing 81-79 with 7:56 on the clock, the Hawks took control of the game for good as Williams netted 10 straight points during a 12-3 run, allowing the Hawks to open a 91-84 advantage with 4:44 left.
A deep 3-pointer by Martin with 4:06 to go pulled the Thunder within two, but they did not get any closer as Atlanta held on for the victory.
Down by five, 16-11, midway through the first quarter, the Hawks went on an 11-0 run. Teague tallied the final six points to give Atlanta a 22-16 lead. The Hawks took a 30-22 margin into the second stanza.
A layup by Zaza Pachulia with 5:38 left in the second frame gave the Hawks a 42-33 lead, but the defending Western Conference champs closed the first half with an 18-5 surge to take a 51-47 lead at the break.
Ibaka nailed a floater early in the third quarter to put the Thunder ahead, 57-48, but the visitors answered with an 11-2 push to tie the game at 59.
Back-to-back treys by Westbrook made it a six-point game, but again the Hawks had an answer as a Horford layup capped a mini 7-1 push to lock things up at 66 with 3:46 remaining in the third.
It stayed a one-possession game the rest of the quarter as the Hawks took a 75-74 lead courtesy of a Williams jumper with 21 seconds left.
Atlanta improved to 14-31 all-time in road lid-lifters ... Atlanta forward Josh Smith missed the game with a right ankle sprain ... Westbrook suffered a left shoulder contusion in the first quarter, but stayed in the game ... The Hawks shot just 14-of-20 from the free throw line.