By GEORGE HENRY
AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA (AP) — Trae Young had 24 points and a season-high 17 assists, De’Andre Hunter added 24 points and the Atlanta Hawks beat the reeling San Antonio Spurs 125-106 on Saturday night.
The Spurs (14-43), losers of a season-high 12 straight, are a half-game ahead of last-place Houston (13-43) in the Western Conference. Atlanta (29-28) has won two straight and four of six. The Hawks are eighth in the East.
The losing streak is San Antonio’s longest since the 1988-89 club dropped a team-record 13 in a row.
“They play their (butt) off,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “They do everything they can. We’ll just keep forming good habits and hope that this builds and builds as the weeks and months and next season come along.”
Atlanta never trailed after Young’s layup early in the third made it 65-64. The Hawks went on a 12-0 run to take a 75-64 lead, the game’s first in double digits, on a pair of free throws by John Collins. A dunk by Clint Capela made it 82-70 at the 4:39 mark of the third, and the Spurs called timeout.
“San Antonio is always going to play hard and always play the right way, meaning there’s going to be five guys out there connected,” Atlanta coach Nate McMillan said. “They’re going to be moving the ball. They’re going to be working hard trying to outscrap you. That’s just the way they play.
“It took us 24 minutes to start establishing and coming with that urgency that we needed on both ends of the floor.”
Young hit two free throws to make it 93-77 entering the fourth with Atlanta’s biggest lead. San Antonio was just 5 for 22 from the field in the third and was outscored 32-17. The lead swelled to 23 in the fourth.
“I think we just picked up the pressure defensively and got out and ran more and got some better shots and some faster shots,” Young said. “I think we were going too slow in that first half, and they were pushing the pace and pushing it at us. We just knew we had to pick up the pressure.”
Keldon Johnson, San Antonio’s leading scorer this season, was back in the lineup after missing Friday’s double overtime loss at Detroit with left ankle soreness and finished with 25 points. Jeremy Sochan added 18.
Capela finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds, and Collins added 17 points for the Hawks.
The Hawks led 61-60 at halftime as Hunter had 17 points, Capela had 12 points with eight rebounds and Young 12 points with 10 assists. Johnson and Sochan each scored 18 before intermission for San Antonio.
Atlanta outscored the Spurs 25-12 in points off turnovers.
Spurs: One night after scoring 31 points to set a franchise record in a San Antonio debut, Devonte’ Graham, acquired in Thursday’s trade with New Orleans, finished with nine points off the bench. … G Tre Jones was back in the lineup after missing four straight games with left foot soreness and scored eight points. … Sochan returned after missing four straight games with lower back soreness. He scored 11 points in the first quarter and finished with a career-high nine rebounds.
Hawks: In his first game against his former team, Dejounte Murray scored 18 points. … Young passed Lenny Wilkens for fourth place on the Hawks’ career assists list with 3,050. … Newly acquired C Bruno Fernando and G Garrison Mathews were not in uniform, but McMillan hopes they will be ready to debut Monday at Charlotte. … Hunter had 12 points and Young had six assists in the first quarter.
McMillan said Saddiq Bey sat on the bench as the newly acquired swingman was in limbo with Thursday’s four-team trade uncertain because Gary Payton II allegedly failed a physical with Golden State. Payton was supposed to return to the Warriors from Portland. Bey was acquired from Detroit. Golden State has until Sunday to decide whether to go forward with the deal or nix it.
Spurs: At Cleveland on Monday.
Hawks: At Charlotte on Monday.
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