Facing the Atlanta Hawks could be just what the San Antonio Spurs need to match their longest winning streak of the season.The surging Spurs pursue that goal on Wednesday night as they try for their fifth straight overall victory and their 11th in a row at home over the Hawks.
San Antonio (12-8) reeled off four consecutive wins from Nov. 21-28 before that momentum was disrupted by back-to-back losses. But the Spurs rebounded behind a 17-point win over host Denver on Thursday, followed by Saturday's 32-point rout of visiting Golden State.
The result wasn't as decisive Tuesday night, but the Spurs secured a third straight as Bruce Bowen's 3-pointer with 1:47 left in the second overtime put them ahead for good in a 133-126 victory at Dallas.
"The trite comment that either team could have won is absolutely true," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "We're thrilled to get it done in the end."
All five starters finished in double figures. Tim Duncan led the way with his fourth straight double-double, totaling a season high-tying 32 points and 14 rebounds. Tony Parker added 29 points and 10 assists, while Manu Ginobili scored 18 despite shooting only 7-of-21 from the field.
The Spurs have won their last four matchups with the Hawks (12-8) by an average of 12.0 points. San Antonio is 16-3 in the series since Jan. 21, 1998 and 14-2 at home after winning 10 straight there since losing 109-89 on Feb. 15, 1997.
The Spurs, winners of six of their last eight overall at the AT&T Center, posted an 89-74 home win over the Hawks on Feb. 25 in the most recent meeting though they've averaged 103.6 points during the 10-game streak.
Duncan - leading the Spurs with 21.4 points - has averaged 21.7 points and 10.4 rebounds in 19 career games versus the Hawks. Ginobili has averaged 19.6 points on 57.1 percent shooting in 10 contests, while Parker picked up 23.0 per contest in last season's two-game set against Atlanta.
Aside from struggling in San Antonio, Atlanta (12-8) has just one win in its last eight road matchups overall. It has also dropped the first two contests on this four-game trip, falling 92-84 at Houston on Tuesday night.
After trailing by as many as 16 points in the first half, the Hawks led 76-68 four minutes into the fourth quarter before allowing the Rockets to rally.
"It was like we went up by eight, and we got very happy - like the game was already over," said Hawks coach Mike Woodson, whose team lost a 10th straight in Houston. "They came back and we had no answer for them."
Joe Johnson scored 22 points and Al Horford added 14 and eight boards for the Hawks, who were held to a season low in points and shot just 39.1 percent from the field.
Against the Spurs last season, the Hawks shot 37.7 percent and averaged 78.5 points - their fewest against any opponent in 2007-08.
Johnson, leading San Antonio with 23.0 points, has averaged 22.4 in his last five games versus the Spurs.