From the opening tip, it was evident that this game would be very different for the Atlanta Hawks. They certainly did not want to have a repeat of their 129-119 loss to the Utah Jazz from the night before. Despite the Philadelphia 76ers’ best efforts this time, the Hawks secured the 104-95 win.
They finished the first quarter with a nine-point lead keyed by Trae Young who scored 15 points coming largely on the strength of nine free throws.
Young finished with 26 points on 7-of-21 shooting (2-for-8 3P) and seven assists.
He also had six turnovers in this one but has been doing so at a career-low rate this season. The bigger concern for now is the inefficiency as Young is also putting up career lows from the floor and beyond the arc.
Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young not showing any signs of concern
“It was good to get to the line, see some shots go in,” Young told Hawks On Bally reporter Lauren Jbarra. “I’m still not shooting the way I want to but I mean it’s going to come, it’s going to be there. But it was good to get some free throws to go early, and getting them in foul trouble is good for us too. So, we just got to keep it going.”
Young is now down to shooting 37.4% from the floor and 31% from three-point range – a far cry from the 44.7% overall and 36.4% from deep that he averaged over the last three seasons.
The arrival of Dejounte Murray has moved Young into more off-ball situations. However, Young has posted a plus-13.6 net rating when both All-Star guards are on the floor and a minus-26.4 when Murray goes to the bench, per Cleaning The Glass.
Young, who led the league in total assists and total points last season, scored eight points in the second half as Philadelphia cut the Hawks’ 20-point lead down to nine points.
That run took three minutes before the Hawks would go on to seal the deal.
“We just got too relaxed. I mean, we got a big lead and we just got too relaxed and let them get back in the game. We got to do a better job of closing out games and being better. And we will. Glad we were able to learn on a win.”
Young also gave credit to the Hawks’ big men who combined for 39 points and 35 rebounds between Clint Capela, John Collins, and Onyeka Okongwu. Capela had 10 points and a season-high 20 boards while Okongwu logged his first double-double of the year. Collins connected with Young on a lob near the end of the game that took out two defenders.
We are only 11 games into the Murray-Young experiment and while the underlying numbers have been mixed, the result and overarching theme has been winning.
Young’s game has always had some level of volatility. He also said that he is feeling fine despite some bumps and bruises and has seen his efficiency improve as the season progresses before. But, for the Hawks to truly reach their ceiling, they need him to get back to his usual efficient self sooner rather than later.
Even if there are more bumps in the road ahead, they are banking wins now as a buffer.
The Hawks moved to 5-2 at home in State Farm Arena this season. They next take the floor on Saturday, once again against the 76ers. But this time, the Hawks will be on the road where they have gone 3-2 to this point.