The final score of the Atlanta Hawks’ 148-143 loss to the Dallas Mavericks tells a story of a tightly contested battle, and it was down the stretch. But the majority of this game more closely resembled the varsity star picking on the incoming freshman.
Mavericks star Luka Doncic went off for 73 points, scoring the lesser part of that in the second half, albeit at an insanely efficient clip.
After the game, Hawks tar Trae Young -- who was traded for Doncic -- didn’t sugarcoat anything.
“He was hot. He was going and we were trying everything,” Young told reporters. “S***, we were trying to trap him. We started off with Jalen on him, and then DJ was switched on him a little bit too. And then we just tried a lot of things different things. … Sometimes you just have to pick your poison.”
Young also noted Dante Exum and Josh Green came up with timely threes down the stretch of the contest.
The Mavericks finished with two other players in double figures, including Green and former Hawks wing Tim Hardaway Jr., who scored 10 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter. Dallas did have four other players score at least eight points, though.
Conversely, the Hawks had six players in double figures, none close to Doncic’s 70 points.
Young finished with 30 points and 11 assists in his return from a two-game absence in concussion protocol. He tallied 19 of his points in the second half, including nine in the fourth quarter alone.
But he wasn’t satisfied with his production.
“I didn't take over enough,” Young said when asked about his mindset during his late surge. “We lost, so I don't think I did enough – or did anything for real – during the game.”
Hawks doubled more “after” Doncic scored 60 points
“After he had scored what 60, we started doing more double-teaming,” Young said. “Then they were hitting threes, and so it's just it's tough. He's a hell of a player for a reason.”
Doncic also had 10 rebounds and seven assists, with missed shots by teammates on some of his passes helping the Hawks get back into the contest. They cut what was an 11-point Mavs lead down to three points with less than 1:39 to go.
The best the Hawks could do was trade baskets, getting outscored 11-9 to close the game.
This loss drops the Hawks to 18-27 and kicks off a six-game homestand on a sour note. The Hawks are 8-13 at home, dragging the NBA’s seventh-worst home winning percentage.