Hawks star sends strong message after monster performance

Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

The Atlanta Hawks might have narrowly escaped their 124-121 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans. But they got some monster performances from their stars who especially stepped up when it mattered the most.

They got a 22-points, 11-assist, 10-rebound triple-double from Dejounte Murray as well as a 34-point, 10-rebound outing from Trae Young.

But we have come to expect such performances from the Hawks’ All-Star guards.

After the game, head coach Nate McMillan said it was the efforts of Clint Capela that allowed the Hawks to secure the hard-fought win over New Orleans. It was a Pelicans squad that came into the game with an identical record but sat one spot lower in fifth place in the Western Conference.

Clint Capela Sends Message After Dominant Performance in Atlanta Hawks Win

Capela finished with 21 points, a season-high 19 rebounds, and four blocks – the second time this season he has swatted as many shots in a game.

“I was just trying to bring the energy from the get-go,” Capela told Kelly Krull of Hawks On Bally after the game, “run, set screens, finish hard at the rim over and over again. Defensively always contesting shots. Just be ready, might get dunked on one time or not, it happens. But have the mentality to challenge shots and be a presence defensively.”

To Capela’s point, he had nine points, seven boards, and two blocks in the first quarter alone.

McMillan said the performance was reminiscent of Capela’s 2020-21 season when he led the NBA in rebounding.

“That’s the Clint we need…He was big all night long tonight, not only rebounding but defending the paint.” (h/t Brad Rowland/Locked On Hawks)

On top of the counting stats, Capela was timely putting himself in the right spot to be on the receiving end of some lobs from Young in the closing minutes.

The Hawks are surely happy to get the win but they did not make it easy on themselves despite the strong showings from their top players. Capela, for one, was not satisfied with the way the Hawks played for much of the closing stretch. They quickly saw their 13-point lead with under five minutes to go turn into a two-point deficit in a little over three minutes.

“At the end of the game, we got to be more focused. We got to do a better job whether you’re up 10 or 13 to really secure that win the last four minutes. So, like I said, it’s really important to get the win so we can move on to the next one.”

McMillan said he is happy the Hawks get to correct their mistakes off of a win but even he acknowledged that he was happy with the team’s play for “44 minutes”.

The game went the full 48 minutes plus five minutes of overtime.

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In the end, the Hawks do still come away with the win and are now 6-3 which gives them a two-game winning streak. It is a nice response after they dropped back-to-back road games versus the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors. Next up they will face the Bucks for the second time this season on Monday.