The Atlanta Hawks are 1-3 over their last four games on the heels of a very encouraging five-game winning streak. They are still .500 on the year at 25-25 and sit with the Play-In Tournament field but are just 1.5 games ahead of a trio of teams in the 9-through-12 spots in the Eastern Conference standings.
Atlanta’s most recent defeat, a humbling 120-113 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on the road had many of the familiar hallmarks of previous Hawks losses this season.
Right down to the blown double-digit lead, only this one was in the first half and not the second.
Still, despite having that additional time to rally, the Hawks fell short narrowly getting outscored 62-60 in the second half. After the game, Trae Young met with reporters and gave some telling insight into just what doomed the Hawks against the Clippers.
Atlanta Hawks’ lack of three-point shooting a major issue
“It’s not about the shot [selection],” Young said of what led to the Hawks’ loss via JER’s YouTube channel. “It’s about they hitting threes and we hitting twos. How many more threes did they hit? They hit 12 more threes. You know, the difference in 12 more is, what, 36? That’s a big jump. I mean, we lost by seven. So, if you put that into consideration we just got to get more looks.”
L.A. went 19-for-39 triples (48.7%) compared to just 7-for-27 (25.9%) for Atlanta.
The Clippers hit 6-of-10 deep looks in a second quarter that saw them outscore the Hawks 36-25 to erase what was a 14-point lead and an eventual seven-point victory.
“Obviously, we got to protect the three-point line a little bit better,” Young – who had 31 points 10 assists, and five rebounds but missed both of his attempts from the outside. “But, they’re hitting threes like that, we’re contesting. Just got to tip your cap to them sometimes.”
Young’s struggles from beyond the arc are well-documented by this point of the season. He is shooting just 31.6% from three this season, a career-low, as he has had to adjust to taking a larger chunk of them off of the catch rather than pulling up off a live dribble thanks to the addition of Dejounte Murray.
It’s not just him though.
The Hawks shot 37.4% from three last season; good for second in the league. This year, they are down to 34.4% and rank just 25th.
There are several factors at play, not the least of which is that they had to trade Danilo Gallinari (38.1%) in the Murray deal and subsequently traded away sharpshooting swingman Kevin Huerter (38.9%) to avoid paying the luxury tax – an issue the front office will also have to address next summer.
Outside of Young, Bogdan Bogdanovic has struggled with consistency from outside hitting 36.5% of his threes this season, a step back from the 36.8% he hit last season. He is also shooting the long ball at just a 30.7%-clip in January.
Even De’Andre Hunter has taken a step back, though he is still shooting over 37% this year.
“We have guys who can shoot,” Young asserted. “We just haven’t been knocking down shots. We’ll be alright.”
The Hawks face the Portland Trail Blazers to kick off a five-game road trip. They are 12-14 on the road this season but did at least split their last extended trip away from the friendly confines of State Farm Arena.