The Atlanta Hawks, with little more on the line than their spot near the top of the next NBA draft, outhustled an Indiana team playing to improve its position in the playoffs.
For Pacers coach Nate McMillan, that’s not acceptable.
Dennis Schroder scored seven of Atlanta’s final eight points to finish with 14, and the Hawks held off a late Indiana comeback to beat the Pacers 107-102 on Wednesday night.
This used to go only for non-post players. But in today’s NBA, even 7-footers are being asked to stretch the floor. Think of all of the elite bigs who have become 3-point threats: Anthony Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns, DeMarcus Cousins, Nikola Jokic and more.
Remember that blocks tend to regress over the course of an NBA player’s career.
So, when it comes to big-man 3-point production, everything is relative. Even a subtle boost is impactful. Davis is already a top-three player. But as he continues to camp out, and he gets closer to 1.0 3PG, you’ll see Davis become a yearly threat to become No. 1 overall.
Meanwhile, the Grizzlies lost their 11th straight, going winless for February. Phoenix won for the first time since defeating the Dallas Mavericks 102-88 on Jan. 31. Elfrid Payton had 19 points and 10 assists for the Suns in the win over Memphis.
“I’m happy for the players, I really am,” Phoenix interim coach Jay Triano said, later adding: “It’s nice for them to get rewarded with a win.”
The smiles among the Suns were in contrast to the misery for Memphis, which continues to struggle. Marc Gasol led the Grizzlies with 22 points and 13 rebounds, while Andrew Harrison scored 20 points. Jarell Martin finished with 16 points.
“We were in a good situation to still win the game, and we struggled on the stretch,” Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said. “We didn’t execute well. Our defense kind of melted down. We fought hard and we scrambled, and we competed. Sometimes that’s not enough — you have to play well, too. That wasn’t there down the stretch.”