December 24, 2017 / 3:39 AM / in a year

Schroder's second-half surge leads Hawks past Mavericks

Schroder’s second-half surge leads Hawks past Mavericks

ATLANTA — Dennis Schroder’s ankle showed enough improvement to allow the point guard to return to the Atlanta lineup on Saturday and he turned out to be the difference in the game.

Schroder scored 26 of his season-high 33 points in the second half, including 10 in the final five minutes, to help the Atlanta Hawks to a 112-107 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday at Philips Arena.

“I tried to be aggressive,” Schroder said. “I was just aggressive trying to attack (Dallas center Dirk) Nowitzki and all of the big guys.”

Schroder did not play on Friday at Oklahoma City because of an ankle injury. He was cleared to play on Saturday morning and matched his season high with 13 field goals and was 4-for-8 on 3-pointers.

“We didn’t have an answer for (Schroder),” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “He beat us on drives, he beat us on pick-and-rolls, he beat us on traps He had a great game, particularly in the second half. We didn’t have an answer.”

Schroder added seven assists and three rebounds to help Atlanta break a two-game losing streak and sweep the series against the Mavericks for the fourth straight season. Schroder scored 28 against Dallas in the season opener.

“Three buckets right off the bat,” Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer said. “Felt like it fueled him for the rest of the second half. Hit a big 3 late, good screen by Miles (Plumlee), pass by (Kent) Bazemore. He caught a good rhythm coming out of the second half.”

Schroder scored Atlanta’s first three baskets of the second half and led the late rally to spark the win. His 3-pointer with 1:21 left in the game gave Atlanta a 110-107 lead.

The Mavericks had two chances to tie. Wesley Matthews missed a 3-pointer with 1:02 and Dirk Nowitzki missed a trey with 26 seconds remaining.

“These are tough losses, but we have to learn how to close out games,” Nowitzki said. “If that’s not the case, we’re going to keep losing. We’re going to be in this position hopefully a lot more times the rest of the season. We have to find ways that work.”

Ersan Ilyasova iced the win with two free throws with 1.5 seconds left.

Atlanta (8-25) also got 21 points and a team-high seven rebounds from Ilyasova and 13 points from rookie John Collins. Bazemore added 11 and Taurean Prince scored 10.

Dallas (9-25) was led by Harrison Barnes with 22 points and Nowitzki with 18, including three 3-pointers, and six rebounds. J.J. Barea came off the bench to add 15 points and 12 assists and three steals.

“I felt like 48 minutes of pretty good basketball to come back from last night,” Budenholzer said. “Thought there was 48 minutes of competitive togetherness. To come back, under tough travel circumstances, to find a way to win. A lot of guys stepped up and played well.”

Ilyasova said the win was important, especially after losing at the buzzer just 24 hours earlier.

“It’s big before the break,” Ilyasova said. “Everybody came up with a lot of spirit and energy. Everybody came up with energy, contributed in the right way an we got a big win.”

The two teams took turns taking the lead in the first quarter. There were seven lead changes and four ties, with the period ending 25-25. The second quarter was just as close, with the largest lead by either team only five points. Dallas shot 55 percent from the field in the period and enjoyed a 53-48 lead at halftime.

Bazemore, held scoreless in the first half, scored seven points during a 14-4 run that put Atlanta ahead 62-57. The Hawks expanded the lead to 10 points, when Prince’s 3-pointer made it 75-65. But the Mavericks went on a 15-4 run and took an 80-79 lead when Dennis Smith Jr. scored on a three-point play with 6.3 seconds left.

NOTES: The Hawks are 4-1 when Dennis Schroder scores 30-plus points. ... The Dallas reserves outscored Atlanta’s 46-31. ... Atlanta had two unusual plays go against it. Miles Plumlee had a slam dunk waved off when he held the rim with his left hand. In the fourth quarter, Ersan Ilyasova had a defensive rebound bounce off his hands an into the basket, giving the Mavericks two points. ... Dallas G Devin Harris was able to return. He did not play in the second half of Friday’s game against Miami because of illness. ... Inactives for Atlanta were C Dewayne Dedmon (left tibia), G Josh Magette, F Mike Muscala and G Tyler Dorsey. Muscala and Dorsey are on a G League assignment. Inactives for Dallas were Dorian Finney-Smith (left knee tendinitis), G Seth Curry (left tibia), F Josh McRoberts (lower extremity injury) and C Nerlens Noel (left thumb surgery).

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