The Golden State Warriors may be able to learn a thing or two from the Atlanta Hawks.
While the Hawks enter Wednesday night's matchup in Oakland having rid itself of some recent late-game troubles, the Warriors come in still smarting from a double-overtime loss.
The Hawks (3-3) bounced back from consecutive defeats with Monday's 95-87 win at Portland. Josh Smith scored 19 in spite of a stomach illness, but most important was the fashion in which Atlanta won.
The Hawks, who were undone by a 15-1 fourth-quarter run in Sunday's 89-76 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, scored the final 10 points in Monday's game. Atlanta was 9 of 16 from the foul line Sunday and its bench was outscored for the first time, 35-32, but restored order in both regards Monday, going 18 of 22 on free throws and outscoring Portland's reserves 26-6.
"We knew they were going to go on a run but it just shows you how this is a veteran team," Smith said. "We didn't get rattled. We took our time, even when they took the lead and we figured out a way to score the basketball late down the stretch."
Finishing games is one of the lessons the young Warriors (3-4) still have to learn as they try to avoid losing their third in a row. They squandered multiple opportunities to put away Denver in Saturday's 107-101 double-overtime home loss.
Golden State led by two with 13 seconds left in the first overtime, but Klay Thompson, who scored 23 points, missed two free throws and Danilo Gallinari tied the game with a dunk with 2 seconds remaining. In the second overtime, Golden State went scoreless in the game's final 2:47, allowing the Nuggets to score the game's final 11 points.
"We had the lead a couple times in late-game situations and our inexperience showed," said David Lee, who at 29 years old is the Warriors' second-oldest player.
Golden State's 71.1 free-throw shooting percentage and 16.3 turnovers per game - two keys in avoiding late collapses - both rank near the league's bottom
"If we even play halfway decent it's not a game to begin with," Lee said. "It's very frustrating."
Golden State has also shot less than 40 percent in its last two games, the first time it's done that since February 2011. The return of Andrew Bogut, who has sat out the last two rehabbing an ankle injury, would help provide some easy baskets, but he's already been ruled out for the next four games.
The Warriors won 85-82 at Atlanta in last season's only meeting, snapping a three-game skid in the series. Lee posted 22 points and 12 rebounds, while Smith finished with 14 points and 10 boards.
Atlanta's Al Horford is averaging 18.9 points in seven games against the Warriors, his highest against any opponent and 6.1 better than his career average.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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