Hawks Screech Past Nets, 131-99

first_imgATLANTA — The Hawks looked playoff-ready while building a big first-half lead over a Brooklyn team which had won six straight.Then Paul Millsap, Atlanta’s leading scorer and rebounder, left the court with a pained expression on his face as he held his right shoulder, tarnishing an otherwise impressive night for the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed.Al Horford and DeMarre Carroll scored 20 points each to help the Hawks match a franchise record with their 57th win, beating the Nets 131-99 on April 4.Millsap hurt his right shoulder in a collision with Brooklyn’s Earl Clark with 1:52 left in the first half. Millsap, who was left sprawled on the court after the play, did not return.“We’ll evaluate it and know more (Sunday) and Monday,” said Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer.As he walked toward Millsap on the court, Budenholzer asked officials why no foul was called. “I thought he got ran over, but it was a loose ball and both guys were going after it,” Budenholzer said.Millsap leads the team with his averages of 16.8 points and 7.8 rebounds. He finished with eight points and five assists.Jeff Teague added had 17 points in one of the Hawks’ best all-around games. They hit 17 of 33 3-pointers and had 40 assists with 15 steals.Budenholzer praised his players’ “unselfishness.”The coach has given his starters generous rest since the team clinched first place in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Hawks returned to a normal rotation in the first half against the Nets and looked sharp while racing to a 66-48 halftime lead.“I think the most important thing was the sense of urgency,” Carroll said, adding he saw a return to the overall level of play that produced a team-record winning streak in the middle of the season.“It was good to see us moving the ball, doing the little things we were doing when we won 19 in a row,” Carroll said.The Hawks looked fresh after three off days. The Nets, who beat Toronto at home on April 3, couldn’t match the Hawks’ energy.“They beat us. . From start to finish,” said Nets coach Lionel Hollins. “It was a good whipping. There’s nothing else that I can say. They dominated the game.”Bojan Bogdanovic led Brooklyn with 19 points.The Hawks surpassed their previous season high of 130 points on John Jenkins’ 3-pointer with 54 seconds remaining.Mike Muscala opened the second half at Millsap’s forward spot. Budenholzer turned the game over to his backups in the third quarter.(CHARLES ODUM, AP Sports Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more