ATLANTA — Dennis Schroder wants to be a team leader, not a distraction, for the Atlanta Hawks.
Schroder scored 31 points, Paul Millsap added 24 points and the Hawks snapped a three-game losing streak with a 110-105 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night.
Schroder said he had a good meeting with coach Mike Budenholzer early in the day and spoke with his teammates to clear up lingering problems from his meltdown Monday.
“Because I’m so competitive that sometimes in the game when it’s heated, everybody is emotional and when you say stuff everybody gets kind of mad,” Schroder said. “So you’ve just got to pick the spots when you do it. Tonight it worked well, and we just try to keep going forward.”
Tim Hardaway Jr. finished with 16 points for Atlanta, which had lost six of eight to fall three games behind fourth-place Toronto in the Eastern Conference.
Sean Kilpatrick scored 27 points, Brook Lopez had 18 and Jeremy Lin 16 for Brooklyn, the NBA’s worst team. The Nets were trying to win consecutive games for the first time since last March 24-26.
Lin’s corner 3 trimmed the lead to 106-105 with 13 seconds remaining, but Hardaway and Schroder each hit a pair of free throws to end it.
Schroder was benched for disciplinary reasons in the second half of Monday’s loss to Golden State. He argued with center Dwight Howard in the third quarter and when the Hawks quickly called timeout, Schroder said something condescending to Budenholzer. He was benched the rest of the game despite scoring 23 points in the first half.
Millsap, a four-time All-Star and the Hawks’ undisputed leader, spoke with Schroder on the phone for an hour Tuesday night. Schroder said that helped settle him down.
Millsap saw a change in Schroder’s disposition.
“Personally, I see some growth, some maturity, a guy who didn’t let what happened last game get to him,” Millsap said. “I see a guy who came out and busted his butt regardless of what happened. Discipline or not, he didn’t play (much) the last game, but came out with a good attitude today to help us win. I see a lot of maturity and lot of growth in him.”
The Nets were up nine points on K.J. McDaniels’ runner early in the second quarter. They didn’t relinquish the lead until Schroder hit a layup to make it 67-65 midway through the third. Kilpatrick’s 3 put Brooklyn back ahead by three, but Atlanta led by one entering the fourth and didn’t trail again.
Schroder has had a rough second half of the season. He was suspended one game for returning late from the All-Star break and was held out of the starting lineup after missing a team bus to the next game.
But he’s indispensable for an offense that’s sluggish without him. Schroder drove the baseline past two defenders for a savvy reverse layup that put Atlanta up five and assisted on the next possession when Millsap’s 3 gave the Hawks a 98-91 lead with 3:47 remaining.
“I thought he was great,” Budenholzer said. “The way he attacks the basket, the way he gets inside, the way he’s shooting the 3 ball with so much confidence. He’s just going to keep getting better.”
Published at Thu, 09 Mar 2017 05:03:04 +0000