Teague pushes his way into Horford’s heart
Atlanta had the game under control midway through the second quarter when David West shoved Al Horford from behind on a fastbreak, and Jeff Teague shoved David West from behind, and play had to be stopped to prevent anything worse from happening.
That particular moment of the Hawks’ 90-69 victory at Philips Arena on Saturday, however, spoke volumes about their aggressive attitude toward the game.
West was called for a Flagrant 1 foul and Teague was called for a technical foul after referees spent about 10 minutes discussing and reviewing the play that sent bodies flying with 6:55 remaining in the half. D.J. Augustin hit a free throw for Teague’s technical and Horford missed both of his foul shots for West’s flagrant, but the Hawks rebounded and Anthony Tolliver wound up with a three-pointer that increased their lead to 25.
The lead was 24 at the half, 26 after three quarters, and still more than 20 throughout most of the final period.
That play more than any proved the Hawks weren’t going to be intimidated in their home arena, even if it meant the 180-pound Teague making a bold point to the 250-pound West. West had just missed a jumper, and committed his foul out of frustration and to prevent another Atlanta fastbreak. Horford didn’t consider it a dirty play.
“I was going so fast, I didn’t have time to catch myself,” he said afterward. “It’s the playoffs. It was an aggressive play. It was a hard foul. In the playoffs, that’s what happens.”
Horford’s primary takeaway from the play was amusement and amazement over the mild-mannered Teague showing such courage.
“I was very surprised,” Horford said. “After I found out, I said, ‘Was that you who (shoved West).’ He said, ‘Yeah,’ but in his cool way. I was proud of the way he had my back out there.”
Teague, a Pike High School alum hit just 4-of-15 shots, but finished with 13 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals.
“He did a heckuva job tonight,” Horford said. “Just his energy level. He got us going by playing at a high level. When he plays like that, we’re a really good team.”
The play certainly seemed to get Horford going. He had just six points before the shoves, but finished with 26 points and 16 rebounds.
“Sometimes it takes something like that to get me going,” Horford said. “After that I was pretty upset. It probably fired me up.”