In one half, the Atlanta Hawks (2-2) went from disaster to glory thanks to Dejounte Murray.
Their 127-113 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves featured a 60-20 comeback run powered by Murray who scored 22 of his game-high 41 points in the third quarter alone.
“I love the game. I love working,” Murray said after the game. “I’ve always believed the work gonna show, no matter who you are, whatever you do in life. The work you put in, it’s gonna show eventually.”
“DJ played a hell of a game,” Trae Young said. “DJ’s the reason why we won tonight. That third quarter, the way he finished that quarter. I usually finish quarters. But there was no reason. I told him, ‘There’s no reason for me to go back in the game. DJ’s hot.’ And it was good to see, and we needed him to have it for us to come back and win.”
Murray outscored the Timberwolves by himself in that third frame. He was 8-for-8 from the floor.
The Hawks shot 61.4% from the floor and 41.7% from beyond the arc in the second half. It wasn’t quite the start the Timberwolves got off to (67.4% FG, 66.7% 3P) in the first half
But, most importantly, Atlanta held Minnesota to 29.5% shooting overall and 26.7% from deep in the second half. It was that kind of defensive effort that led to their win over the Milwaukee Bucks on the first leg of this back-to-back.
“It was great. It was a testament to us as a team. A little adversity hit. They was hot in the first quarter, the first half. …. Only thing for us is we couldn’t put our head down,” Murray said. “I think we just showed that we’re built for whatever. … Once we utilize the talent we have, we could go a long way.”
For as gaudy as Murray’s stats were, the win means more than anything.
Hawks’ Trae Young: ‘DJ’s Like Me’
“DJ’s like me in a lot of ways. It ain’t about the numbers, it’s about wins and losses. That’s why I love DJ,” Young said. “It’s really cool to have a teammate like that who’s all about winning.”
“As a individual, I’m trying to be elite on the defensive end first and foremost,” Murray said. “I tell the guys all the time, ‘We’re gonna make or miss shots. We can’t control that. We gotta move on, and do the things we can control.”
The Hawks controlled things, going from minus-four in the turnover margin in the first half to plus-five in the second half. They also went from being minus-six in the rebounding battle to plus-four. But that doesn’t mean that the Hawks were not happy to see Murray have such an efficient night.
He entered the night shooting 39.5% overall and 0.91% from deep.
“I’m glad that he got his shot going tonight,” Young said. “We’re going to need him to keep it going for us to be where we want to be at the end.”