So you might’ve heard by now: The Hawks won a game Wednesday night to take a 3-2 series lead over the Washington Wizards in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Here’s a link to the game column.
Here are my three “short takes” on the game:
1. BIG AL’S BIG MOMENT: Al Horford is the senior member of the Hawks so it was fitting that he should be central to the biggest win of this postseason so far. He was a force at both ends of the court, leading the team with 23 points, 11 rebounds, five blocks and two assists — and won the game with a last-second rebound and put back. “Al was a monster for us,” said Jeff Teague. “He’s the cornerstone of the franchise,” said Kyle Korver.
2. TEAGUE GIVES WAY TO SCHRODER: How rare is it that a starter will turn down a chance to go into a game because he thinks his backup is playing too good to take out? That happened in Game 5. Teague hit some key shots but he did not have a great game against the Wizards (seven turnovers) and he played only 5:33 of the fourth quarter. Coach Mike Budenholzer attempted to send Teague into the game for the final few minutes. With Teague waiting at the scorer’s table, Dennis Schroder hit a pull-up jumper with 2:55 left to give the Hawks a 76-73 lead. That’s when Teague walked back to the bench. “We got a steal and Dennis hit a pull-up jumper and I just said, ‘Let it go man. Let him ride it out.'”
3. KORVER’S NON-SHOOTING IMPACT: Kyle Korver was scoreless (0-for-4) until hitting a three-point shot with 4:58 left to help the Hawks rally from a nine-point deficit (73-64). But he impacted the Hawks in other ways. He blocked two shots in the first half. He had five rebounds and six steals — none bigger than with 19.9 seconds left against Paul Pierce when the game was tied 78-78. The steal ignited a fastbreak, which was finished by DeMarre Carroll. “I saw (Pierce) kind of turn his back,” Korver said. “I thought there was an opening to take a swipe at it.”
•Recent ramblings — MyAJC: Desperation shouldn’t be Hawks’ prime motivator — MyAJC: Brady, Patriots got what they deserved — AJC: Another lesson for Brady, Patriots: Don’t cheat, don’t lie — MyAJC: Jalen Collins determined to make Falcons’ pick look good — AJC: Wall’s injury shifts odds in Hawks’ favor for game, series — MyAJC: Braves’ McDowell trying to repair some damaged egos — AJC: Brady’s agent suggests ‘sting operation’ by NFL, Colts. Really? — AJC: Pats, Brady clearly cheated and Bob Kraft is in denial — MyAJC: Hawks survive but they didn’t make it easy — AJC: Short takes: Wall’s status uncertain, late defense keys win — MyAJC: Here we go again: Hawks let one slip away — AJC: Short takes: Hawks go cold, blow double-digit lead in Game 1 — MyAJC: Teague is Hawks’ key to going deep in playoffs — AJC: No shortage of stars but Hawks’ clincher started with Teague — MyAJC: Finally, the good Hawks show up for series clincher — AJC: On Falcons’ draft, trading up, Bruce Irvin and Gurley question — MyAJC: Dan Quinn determined to fix pass rush after past Falcons’ whiffs — MyAJC: Hawks’ regular-season afterglow is long gone — MyAJC: Hawks being visited by ghosts of playoffs past