For just the second time this season, the Atlanta Hawks have lost two games in a row. They most recently fell 126-116 to the Philadelphia 76ers who boast the best record in the Eastern Conference. Atlanta fell to 6-6, continuing their love affair with being at .500 or somewhere thereabouts that dates back to last season.
It’s also led to some whispers of trade speculation as the Hawks have shown some impressive things offensively. But their defense has left plenty to be desired as has their pattern of slow starts to games.
Amid what is also a career-worst start to the season in terms of efficiency, Trae Young sent out a message preaching patience.
“Don’t rush anything,” Young posted on X on November 18. When the time is right, it’ll happen.”
Now, it is unclear if this was in direct relation to his shooting slump or even the Hawks’ record this season. He did finish the loss to the Sixers with 22 points and 13 assists, his eighth time with double-digit assists in 11 appearances this season. But he also shot under 40% from the field for the eighth time in that same span.
Young was 5-for-14 from the floor including 2-for-6 from beyond the arc, the eighth time in 11 appearances that he has shot 33.3% or worse from deep this season. This would mark the second consecutive season that Young’s three-point efficiency fell.
He shot a career-best 38.2% in 2021-22. But, other than shooting 36.5% from deep in 2019-20, his next best season was 34.3% which he set in 2020-21.
But Young isn’t letting that deter him from operating the Hawks’ offense at a high level.
“I’ve been leading the league in [total] assists the last two years,” Young said postgame via the team. “That means I play a lot, and that means I get my guys involved. So I’ve been doing that. Ain’t nothing new. But we just got to finish games. To be honest, I don’t care about all the ‘getting everybody involved’. I just want to win at the end of the day.
“But when teams are putting their best defender on me still … I got to be able to get them the ball. And it allows me when they’re making shots to open up the floor. And so I’m just trying to continue to give them the ball and I know it’ll open up even more for me.”
Trae Young reacts to De’Andre Hunter’s ejection
The key turning point in the game was unequivocally De’Andre Hunter getting ejected for his reaction to a foul called against him less than two minutes into the third quarter in what was, at the time, a one-score game. The official also doubled down on the decision after the game, adding insult to the moment.
Atlanta went on to take a 73-68 lead over the next four-plus minutes.
But the Sixers went on a 16-to-3 run to stake themselves to the lead, finishing the quarter on a 26-14 run.
It did not help that Dejounte Murray struggled shooting the ball for the second consecutive game, scoring 13 points on 5-for-16 shooting. He did, however, connect on 3-of-7 looks from beyond the arc.
The Hawks – who were undersized against the Sixers even before Hunter’s ejection – also lost the rebounding and second-chance points battles. Their next chance to right the ship will be on November 21 in their second contest of the In-Season Tournament as they host the Indiana Pacers. They are 1-1 in the IST following the loss to Philly.