The Atlanta Hawks were dead and buried on Thursday night. Then, Tim Hardaway Jr. erupted. Atlanta trailed by 20 points with 8:26 remaining against the Houston Rockets but, in short order, the visiting team closed the massive gap and the biggest blow of the evening was delivered by Hardaway Jr. with a poster-worthy dunk.
All told, Hardaway Jr. scored a mesmerizing 23 points in the fourth quarter (and a career-best 33 points overall) in the win for the Hawks and the dunk came at a perfect time. Atlanta would hold Houston to just two points in the final four minutes of the contest and Hardaway shocked the Rockets by absolutely exploding for the dunk against the defensive resistance of Clint Capela and Ryan Anderson.
The great majority of Hardaway Jr.’s damage in the closing period came as a result of his jump shot, making this move and finish all the more impressive. Houston, quite obviously, takes some responsibility for what was a thorough collapse in the fourth quarter of a game they seemed poised to win with ease, but it was the Hawks that scratched and clawed their way to a shocking upset victory. Tim Hardaway Jr. was the player of the evening in a game that included massive performances from both James Harden (41 points) and Dwight Howard (24 points, 23 rebounds), and it was bizarrely fitting that he slammed the door with a big-time flush in the final seconds.