ATLANTA (AP) -- Minutes after giving Jason Terry an earful for an
untimely turnover, coach Terry Stotts drew up a play for Terry to
win the game.
Atlanta's Darvin Ham, right, shows the new defensive intensity of the Hawks as he battles with Malik Rose of the Spurs.
It worked perfectly.
Terry hit a fallaway jumper at the buzzer to give Stotts a
victory in his debut as the Atlanta Hawks beat the San Antonio
Spurs 81-79 Friday night.
Stotts, a longtime assistant who joined the team this summer,
took over for Lon Kruger, who was fired Thursday.
''Amazing as it sounds, that's the way I drew it up,'' Stotts
said. ''You've got to love shooters. I'm glad this one dropped,
because this team needed a confidence-builder. It's been a rough
After Tim Duncan tied it with a hook from in close, Terry took
an inbound pass with 4.3 seconds left and dribbled past Tony Parker
and Bruce Bowen. He hoisted an off-balance, line-drive 18-footer
just before the final horn, and the ball swished through.
Terry's teammates mobbed him at halfcourt, and the referees
immediately ruled the shot was good. They used a video replay
afterward to officially count the basket.
''I got my head down a couple times and he came right to me,''
Terry said of Stotts. ''I made mistakes, but he stuck with me and
showed confidence in me.''
Tim Duncan had 20 of his 27 points in the first half for the Spurs,
who'd won four in a row but shot only 44 percent against one of the
worst defensive teams in the league. Atlanta entered allowing 98.6
points a game, sixth-worst in the NBA.
''We had some good stretches, but we weren't consistent
enough,'' San Antonio center David Robinson said. ''We normally
play more good minutes than the other team.''
With Stotts at the helm, the Hawks showed a renewed interest in
defense. Point guard Mike Wilks, who joined the team Tuesday and
started in place of Ira Newble, picked up his man fullcourt
throughout. He drew one offensive foul from Tony Parker and added
two steals in the first game of his career.
''It was an ugly game,'' Spurs guard Stephen Jackson said.
''They were ready to play. I don't know if it had anything to do
with the coach or not.''
Wilks made his first two shots and finished with seven points,
four assists and no turnovers.
''Jason Terry told me to come to him with any questions I had,''
Wilks said. ''They kept talking to me out there. If I got confused,
they pointed me in the right direction.''
There were other subtle changes, too. Dion Glover, a regular in
Kruger's rotation, didn't play for the first time in nearly a
''I have 11 guys that I can play, but I can't play 11 guys,''
Stotts said of his substitution pattern. ''Tonight, it was Mike
Wilks' turn. Tomorrow night, it might be Dion or somebody else.''
Stotts openly chastised Terry for a blind, over-the-shoulder
pass that led to a turnover in the fourth quarter. With a timeout
coming and a foul called on Glenn Robinson, Stotts glared at Terry
and met him on the court, sternly talking into his ear for about five seconds.
After he was done, he slapped Terry on his rear and walked with
him to the huddle.
''J.T. responds,'' Stotts said. ''He doesn't mean to screw up.''
But Stotts enjoyed his time on the court, too, even taking time
to accept congratulations from Bowen during a deadball in the first
''One of the best things about his experience so far is how
happy people are for me,'' Stotts said. ''I haven't actually been
happy, but I have a lot of people who are happy for me.''
Hawks forward Chris Crawford missed his 11th consecutive game with
an inflamed knee. He hasn't been on the injured list, since it's
full with three players. ... David Robinson, who's retiring after this
season, made his final appearance in Atlanta. ... The crowd of
13,453 was the third in a row of more than 10,000 in Philips Arena, only
the second time this season that's happened.