Originally posted on Project Spurs  |  Last updated 1/19/13
Coming into Saturday, the San Antonio Spurs looked like they would have to overcome giant odds to get a victory in Atlanta against the 6th seeded Hawks on the second night of a back-to-back and without two members of the “Big 3.” When the 48-minutes were over Saturday evening, the Spurs walked off the floor with a 98-93 victory as Tony Parker delivered a much needed performance (23 points, 12 assists) by scoring 10 points in the fourth quarter, Tiago Splitter helped with 14 points and seven rebounds, and Matt Bonner, came off the bench to provide 17 points. Splitter helped Parker close the fourth quarter with eight points, while Bonner provided six points in the final quarter. Kawhi Leonard also scored 14 points, while a few other Spurs helped in an assortment of ways as the team was missing Tim Duncan (rest), and Manu Ginobili (left strained hamstring). Here’s the rundown of the Spurs’ gritty win in Atlanta. First quarter: Spurs 25, Hawks 16 The defense and the bench – One of the ways to win on the road is to play tough defense and shoot a decent percentage. The Spurs did just that as their defense held the Hawks to 40% shooting, 16 points, and six turnovers in the first. The bench also supplied an 8-0 run to end the first as the team overall knocked down 4-of-7 three pointers in the first quarter. Second quarter: Spurs 52, Hawks 42 Bonner time – Bonner was the Spurs’ spark in the second quarter as he went into halftime as the leading Spurs scorer with 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting, and he made all three of his 3-pointers without missing. 14-4 Hawks run – After the Spurs had went up as much as 11 points midway through the second quarter, the Hawks went on a 14-4 run that cut the Spurs’ lead down to one point. Danny Green would stop the Hawks’ run with a 3-pointer, while the Spurs shot 8-of-16 from distance in the first half. Closing quarter strongly – The Spurs once again closed the quarter strongly with a 14-5 run that sent them into halftime with the 10-point lead. Leonard also had 10 points by the half. Third quarter: Spurs 70, Hawks 70 Fatigue starting to settle in? – In the third, the Spurs just couldn’t get in sync as they were held to 20 points and missed all four of their attempted 3-pointers; the Hawks meanwhile poured 28 points in the third, most significant was Devin Harris (13 points) with 12 points in the third quarter. Fourth quarter: Spurs 98, Hawks 93 13-3 run fueled by Parker - Midway through the fourth, with the Spurs and Hawks exchanging baskets, Parker would spark a 13-3 run for the Spurs that would allow their lead to go back up as much as eight points. The Hawks would only get within three points the rest of the way. The closers: Parker, Splitter, and Bonner – Parker (10 points), Splitter (8), and Bonner (6) were all involved in 24 of the Spurs’ 26 fourth quarter points as Parker was either sinking layups, Bonner was tipping in offensive rebounds, or Splitter was getting wide open baskets in the final minute of the game. The three Spurs had every answer and more for the Hawks in the fourth quarter. With the win, the Spurs improve to 32-11 on the season, 14-9 on the road, and have another 4-game winning streak. The team will have Sunday off before visiting Philadelphia where they’ll face the 76ers on Martin Luther King Jr. day, Monday. Post-game Notes Hawks’ injuries – Though the Spurs were missing Duncan and Ginobili, the Hawks are also battling injuries at the moment as they lost Lou Williams recently to a season ending injury, Anthony Morrow was out, and then Harris injured himself in the second half Saturday and never returned to the game. Parker took care of the rock – As tweeted by Andrew McNeil of 48minuteshell.com, Parker only had one turnover on Saturday on his way to dishing 12 assists. Spurs take care of ball – The Spurs have won their last four games in a row and one reason for the winning track is the new control of the ball. On Saturday, the Spurs as a team turned the ball over nine times in the entire game. More wins will come as a result of not giving the ball away. Bonner after the game -  "I almost blacked out-out there," said Bonner to FSSW of getting big minutes early tonight, "I was huffin and puffin." #Spurs #Hawks — Paul Garcia PS (@24writer) January 20, 2013 "He doesn't say anything, but he yells a lot of stuff." Says Bonner of Pop with a smaller #Spurs roster. #Hawks — Paul Garcia PS (@24writer) January 20, 2013
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