NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, April 5th (All times eastern)
San Antonio Spurs (58-19) at Atlanta Hawks (44-33), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Now that their season-high losing streak is in the past, the NBA-best San Antonio Spurs can focus on ending a four-game road slide when they take on the Atlanta Hawks tonight from Philips Arena.
The top-seeded and Southwest Division-champion Spurs are only 2 1/2 games ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers for Western Conference bragging rights with five games to play and put the brakes on a six-game skid with Sunday's 114-97 triumph over the Phoenix Suns in the Alamo City.
George Hill had 29 points in a reserve role and Matt Bonner provided 16 and 11 rebounds off the bench for the Spurs, who halted their longest losing streak since the 1996-97 season.
"I don't take losing lightly," Bonner said. "Six in a row after winning so many games all year it weighs on you mentally, so first and foremost to get the win, end the losing streak, and try to build off that confidence."
San Antonio's big three of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker combined for only 21 points. Gary Neal netted 15 points off the bench.
The Spurs are 24-14 away from the AT&T Center this season.
Atlanta hopes to get back in the win column tonight after having a four-game winning streak stopped with Sunday's 114-109 loss in Houston. The playoff- bound Hawks, who are fifth in the Eastern Conference standings, were burned by Kevin Martin's 35 points.
Joe Johnson had 25 points to lead the Hawks, while Josh Smith ended with 21 points, 11 boards and seven assists.
"We gave up too many dribble-drives, too much dribble penetration," Smith said. "They scored 56 points in the paint, that's way too many points. We've got to make it more stingy."
Smith, however, is questionable for tonight's game with a balky right knee.
San Antonio defeated Atlanta, 108-92, on Dec. 10 this season thanks to 18 points from both Richard Jefferson and Ginobili. The Spurs have won eight of nine and 20 of the last 24 matchups with the Hawks.
04/05 10:34:10 ET