Atlanta Hawks star Dejounte Murray sounds off on critical play

Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports /

Perhaps this can be the start of something for the Atlanta Hawks. Their 120-117 win over the Sacramento Kings featured many of the hallmarks of some of the Hawks’ most frustrating losses this season. They blew a lead, had some sloppy play in critical moments, and seemed to start to unravel under pressure.

Instead, they fought through the rough spots and matched the Kings blow-for-blow in the second half equaling their 59 points scored after the break.

They got tremendous performances from John Collins and De’Andre Hunter.

But their efforts might have all been for naught were it not for Dejounte Murray who scored eight of his 21 points in the fourth quarter. He also came up with the key takeaway to seal the much-needed win and had something to say about it in the game’s aftermath.

Dejounte Murray sends strong message after sealing Atlanta Hawks’ win

“Me just being myself,” Murray told Bally Sports Hawks sideline reporter Lauren Jbarra. “Obviously, wanting to guard the best players or whoever’s the hot guy for the night…Just down the stretch trying to execute. We’ve been having a problem of executing, being up having some comfortable leads. Just trying to be smart and play defense.”

The Hawks have blown several leads late in games often due to lapses in concentration on both ends of the floor. They’ve also had more than one loss come at the end of a game resulting in heartbreak.

After falling down by four points with just over one minute to go, however, they went on a 7-0 run to seal the deal.

But Murray isn’t getting too far ahead of himself.

“It’s like I told you before, I try to focus on one game at a time. And I don’t fall in love with the streaks or anything else. Obviously, I study the game and I’m a student of the game and I’m paying attention to what’s going on across the league. But one game at a time. We dropped four and we were able to come in and get a win against a really great team.”

He finished by saying that he also doesn’t get hung up on who the Hawks are playing on any given night, he is just looking to get a win.

It’s been an up-and-down season for Murray who missed five games with an ankle injury in early December. But, over his last three outings, he is averaging 22 points on 56.9% true shooting with 7.7 rebounds, 6.7 assists, and 2.0 steals.

The one thing he has been most consistent with is his messaging to and about the team.

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The Hawks wrap their trip to the West Coast with back-to-back games against the Lakers – whom they lost to on December 30 – and the Clippers whom they have not faced yet.