Atlanta Hawks: Rapid Reactions to Thrilling 106-98 Triumph vs. Nuggets

John Collins #20 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)
John Collins #20 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Jamal Murray #27 against the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Third Quarter Explosion

With a slick Young drive to the cup, the Hawks took a 61-60 lead on the team with the best record in the West with 8 minutes left in the third quarter.

When this squad gets clicking, they are really fun to watch. That Collins-Young connection we started dreaming about after the backboard alley-oop in the preseason had to be put on hold when Collins hurt his foot and missed a sizable chunk of games.

But with the second-year big man from Wake Forest back in the starting lineup, him and his buddy Trae-T-L are showing flashes of their combined ability to make sweet, sweet music.

A strong defensive showing in the opening minutes of the third period turned into great offense on the other end, with Young, Collins, Kevin Huerter, Vince Carter, and Deandre’ Bembry all canning triples. The home team was 8-for-12 on three-point attempts in the third period. (Cue GIF of Oprah: YOU GET A THREE, YOU GET A THREE, EVERYBODY GETS A THREE).

Make no mistake about it, the Nuggets left a lot of shooters open–but the Hawks made them pay by knocking down the shots they were given. State Farm Arena got as loud as it has gotten all season when Vince Carter buried one from long range to give the Hawks an 82-72 lead with just under two minutes left in the third.

AND HOW ‘BOUT BEMBRY. Arguably his best game as a pro. It is so rewarding to watch a guy who has shown glimpses throughout his career, finally put it all together in a random December game. Career-high 18 points for that guy. Love him.

AND BACK TO VINSANITY. THE ELDER STATESMAN WITH 11 POINTS IN THE THIRD QUARTER ALONE, capped off by a grown man slam on the final offensive possession for the Hawks.

Atlanta would take an 86-77 lead into the final period.