Although it’s early February, the Atlanta Hawks face-off against the Golden State Warriors had the feel of a game in late June. Hours before tip-off, a traffic jam clogged downtown Atlanta as fans piled into Philips Arena earlier than usual. Media outlets from across the nation crowded the dinning hall as it soon became difficult to find a seat or open table. On the courtside, athletes, such as Cam Newton and Evander Holyfield, rubbed elbows with music artists, such as Kandi Burruss, 2 Chainz and Young Jeezy. This wasn’t just a game; it was the biggest sporting event in Atlanta of 2015.
The Atlanta Hawks and Golden State Warriors entered the game as the top teams in their respective conference. The first half resembled a first round of Floyd Mayweather fight. Both teams jabbed and measured each other without throwing a knock out punch. By halftime, the game was tied at 52.
By the third quarter, the Hawks started to make a run and opened a 10-point lead with the help of bench players Mike Scott and Dennis Schroeder. However, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson kept the Warriors close with three pointers and impressive drives to the basket. But the Hawks answered with three-pointers of their own and finished the game with 15 three pointers. They also used stifling defense to force the Warriors into bad shots during the waning minutes of the fourth quarter.
The Hawks walked away with a 124-116 victory and placed themselves as the top team in the NBA. Championships are won in the spring and early summer when it comes to NBA hoops. But the Hawks’ impressive run in the winter seems like a prelude of things to come.