Atlanta Hawks: Rapid Reactions to Gut-Wrenching Loss to Pacers

Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Atlanta Hawks’ 2018-2019 season comes to a close with a brutal 135-134 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.

Wow. Just…wow. What a sequence of events to end the Atlanta Hawks year.

To recap: Taurean Prince hits the most dramatic shot of his season to give the Hawks a 134-132 lead with 1.1 seconds left.

Here it is in all its glory:

A beauty of a bomb.

However, after the Pacers called timeout and advanced the ball, DeAndre’ Bembry closed out too hard and undercut Edmond Sumner‘s desperation heave at the buzzer. A foul was called and the guy on the two-way contract sunk the ensuing three free throws to give his team a morale-boosting win heading into a playoff series with Boston.

That’s just a brutal way to lose if you’re the Hawks.

Unfortunately, the climactic ending (which had shades of Auburn’s Samir Doughty fouling Virginia’s Kyle Guy in the Final Four this past Saturday) will overshadow some fantastic individual performances from the home team.

John Collins was a human vacuum cleaner on the way to 20 points and a career-high 25 rebounds. Almost single-handedly, he kept his team in the game by earning extra possessions.

Additionally, Taurean Prince was feeling himself in the second half. The forward hit what would and should have been the game-winner, but he had also been ballin’ up to that point as well. 23 points for the former Baylor Bear, including 5-of-8 from downtown.

Fellow three-point stroker Kevin Huerter was also phenomenal behind the arc, accounting for 17 points on six made field goals, five of them 3’s.

In fact, all of the Atlanta Hawks starters showed out. All five scored at least 17, with the four others beside Huerter recording at least 20.

Which brings us to Trae Young. Oh, how we will miss seeing him torch the league in his rookie season.

After a not-so-stellar start to the game, the point guard started to get in a rhythm by throwing monster lobs to his buddy John Collins.

Oh, and he also decided to turn State Farm Arena into a middle school playground court.

With tonight’s 23-point, 11-assist outing (his 18th 20/10 game of the season), Trae moved into 10th on the all-time rookie assist leaderboard.

He was huge down the stretch, leading Atlanta’s fourth quarter comeback with some staggering shots and timely passing.

The Hawks roared back after being down most of the game, making the last few minutes leading up to Prince’s lead-taking triple a thrilling back-and-forth between two teams trying to deliver a knockout blow.

Fortunately, the fourth quarter fireworks more than made up for what had been a subpar affair through the opening three frames.

Both teams seemed content to sleep-walk on defense, and at times the game delved into a half-hearted pickup contest. You can’t really blame them–both teams are feeling the fatigue of an 82-game slog, and both teams had already locked up their after-season plans.

The Indiana Pacers will travel to Boston to face the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Playoffs this weekend, the Hawks’ attention now turns to May and the 5th-best lottery odds they own.

Some other big news from this penultimate NBA night? The Dallas Mavericks lost and the Memphis Grizzlies won, meaning that the Hawks now have an extremely good chance at owning the top-5 protected pick they picked up in the Trae Young-Luka Doncic trade on draft night last June.

Next. 13 Players Hawks Could Select in 2019 NBA Draft. dark

The next few months will feature some of the most exciting decisions the Atlanta Hawks have made in quite some time. Don’t miss any of it–make sure you keep it locked to Soaring Down South for all your Hawks news, analysis, and rumors.