While you can’t win them all, it would be nice to stay competitive. That was not the case for the Atlanta Hawks in their 126-101 blowout loss to the Boston Celtics at home on Wednesday as they looked out of sync on both ends of the floor for most of the evening. They did have a couple of trends continue.
Star point guard Trae Young finished with 27 points and nine assists, his fifth game with at least that many dimes and 20-plus points in the last six games.
The Hawks connected on just 7-of-32 threes and are now shooting 32.2% on the year.
They had been getting by with stout defense, ranking 10th in defensive efficiency coming into the contest between the one and three seeds in the Eastern Conference. The floodgates opened up against the Celtics who hit over 45% of their triples and shot better than 54% overall.
Atlanta Hawks fall as Trae Young still feeling out new teammates
“When you only hit seven and they make 21 of them, that’s a lot of points you’ve got to make up for,” Young said after the game. “You’ve got to give them credit. They were knocking down a lot of threes. But that’s what they do…We got to make more of an adjustment to get out to probably shooters, get out to threes.”
To Young’s point, the Celtics are tied with the Golden State Warriors for the league-lead averaging 41.1 attempts from deep per game.
In contrast, the Hawks rank dead last.
“We’re one of the bottom teams in the league at shooting threes. We got to be better at that I think. It’s good that we can notice that now rather than later and we’re able to adjust…getting [Bogdan Bogdanovic] back, hopefully soon, will help that. But while he’s out we still got to be able to make plays and do it by ourselves.”
With Bogdanovic in the lineup with Young last season, the Hawks posted a plus-5.1 net rating, ranked in the 78th percentile, per Cleaning The Glass.
This season, their net rating is plus-2.3, though the starting lineup’s net rating is plus-8.8.
“You want to make the right play…For me personally, I think just trying to add in Dejounte [Murray], trying to make it as comfortable and everything for him. I think for me early on, it’s been trying to think about it too much. Instead of just going out there and playing and just playing free.”
Murray (19 points, five assists, three rebounds) has hit the ground running. But Young’s catch-and-shoot numbers have plummeted with increased volume.
He is shooting 27.3% on catch-and-shoot threes with a 34.6% effective field goal percentage on catch-and-shoot looks. Those numbers are down from 48.1% and 71.3%, respectively, last season.
Young said he was not worried and knows it will take more time for the Hawks to come together.
Working in their favor, the Hawks’ net rating is plus-8.4 when Murray and Young share the floor. It is a different story when they are apart, particularly when Young is on the floor without Murray. But the big question of this experiment was how Young and Murray would fit as a pair of ball-dominant guards.
So far, the answer has been “very well”.
The Hawks have dropped three of their last five games. They have a date with the Toronto Raptors after which they will travel to face the formidable Cleveland Cavaliers before coming back home to host former Hawks wing Kevin Huerter and the Sacramento Kings.