Green’s D sparks Warriors to tight win over Hawks
OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Golden State Warriors didn’t have Andrew Bogut around to duel with Atlanta Hawks big man Dwight Howard on Monday night.
Just gimpy-ankled, undersized Draymond Green.
Turns out, that was plenty good enough.
Andre Iguodala powered a key run early in the fourth quarter that gave Golden State the lead, and Green denied Atlanta on two late possessions with blocked shots, helping the Warriors turn back the Hawks 105-100 for their 12th straight win.
Howard registered 14 points and 16 rebounds in his first visit to Oakland as a Hawk, but when it came to defense, no one stood taller than Green.
“The world says we traded our defense away when we got KD (Kevin Durant),” Green said of deals such as sending the defensive-minded Bogut to the Dallas Mavericks over the summer. “I disagree. That (bothers) me. I take that personally.”
The Hawks, who lost to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night, took an 81-80 lead into the final period Monday, but they never led again after Durant hit a jumper on Golden State’s first possession of the decisive quarter.
Iguodala dropped in two interior baskets, and Shaun Livingston converted a fastbreak into a layup, completing the 8-0 run that produced an 88-81 lead.
“It felt like the game kind of flipped there,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “You’ve just got to be better for 48 minutes.”
The Hawks had their chances.
They got within 88-85 on a layup by Kent Bazemore with 8:15 left, and then had two opportunities to tie on 3-point attempts by Dennis Schroder and Bazemore. Both missed.
The Golden State lead was just 91-89 two minutes later when Bazemore again went for the lead from 3-point range. Again, he was off the mark.
The Warriors (16-2) countered with the next six points, four by Durant, to create some separation they massaged to the end, thanks in large part to Green. The defensive stalwart fashioned a four-point, seven-assist, four-block performance two days after having had to sit out a game with a sore ankle.
First, Green rejected Schroder on a drive to the hoop with 43.4 seconds left and the Warriors clinging to a 104-100 lead.
Then, he did the same to Bazemore near the rim, this one with 15.8 seconds left and Golden State still up by just four.
In both cases, the ball bounced out of bounds off Atlanta players.
“That’s like a double slap in the face,” Green said. “I like them.”
The Warriors were able to hold on despite going the final 1:26 without a field goal.
“That was amazing,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of Green’s late performance. “I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a sequence like that from one guy. Just an incredible defensive sequence.”
Durant and Stephen Curry scored 25 points apiece for the Warriors, who beat Atlanta for the fourth straight time.
Durant, who made eight of his 16 shots, also corralled a team-high 14 rebounds.
Klay Thompson chipped in 20 points and Iguodala 12 for Golden State, which shot just 43.5 percent from the field after converting at a 51.7 percent rate in the previous 11 wins during the streak.
Schroder had a team-high 24 points for the Hawks (10-8), who lost for the sixth time in seven games since a 9-2 start.
Schroder also accumulated a team-best six assists.
“Dennis felt like he had a great challenge tonight (guarding Curry), and he stepped up,” Budenholzer said. “It felt like Steph Curry or whoever he was guarding had to work for everything he got.”
Like Howard, Paul Millsap (14 points, 14 rebounds) recorded a double-double for the Hawks, while Tim Hardaway Jr. came off the bench to contribute 10 points.
After falling behind 23-15 in the first nine minutes, the Hawks led for a majority of the middle two periods behind an opportunistic defense that converted 14 Warriors turnovers into 19 points through three quarters.
Schroder had eight points in the third quarter, helping the Hawks go up 74-67 eight minutes into the period.
Durant and reserves Iguodala and Ian Clark hit subsequent 3-pointers, however, allowing the Warriors to climb back within 81-80 by period’s end and setting up the game-turning start of the fourth quarter.
NOTES: The Warriors’ 12-game winning streak matches the third longest in franchise history. ... The NBA honored Warriors SF Kevin Durant as its Western Conference Player of the Week for the period ending Sunday. Durant averaged 24.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 2.8 blocks in four Warriors wins. ... Coincidentally, Monday was Kevin Durant bobblehead night in Oakland. ... With the win, the Warriors own a 144-142 edge in the all-time series, which dates back to a game on Feb. 3, 1950, between the Philadelphia Warriors and Tri-Cities Blackhawks.