Dejounte Murray points out 'best' takeaway from Hawks' win over Grizzlies

The Atlanta Hawks got a career performance from Dejounte Murray, who pointed to something else as the "best" part of the win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray
Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray / Justin Ford/GettyImages

Atlanta Hawks (29-34) star Dejounte Murray tied his career high with 41 points in the 99-92 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on March 8.

He added seven rebounds, six assists, and two steals with just two turnovers in the contest. But it was the group’s collected effort on the other side of the floor that Murray keyed in on as the top aspect coming out of the contest.

“I made shots tonight; it's always great to make shots,” Murray told reporters. “I think the better part is just playing together and your teammates looking for you or you looking for them, trying to make the right play. And, obviously, on defense we held them to what, 92 points tonight? You don't see that in NBA today, so I think that's the best thing to take from tonight's game.”

The Hawks have posted their three best defensive efforts in terms of points allowed over the last seven games.

Those three instances are the only times they’ve held opponents below 100 points this season.

They are undefeated in those games. This win was the Hawks’ first of the season when scoring below 100 points in a game. Further, the Hawks are 14-1 when they hold opponents below 114 points this season.

It’s fair to say they might not have overcome even a depleted Grizzlies team without Murray, who has stepped his game up in the absence of three-time All-Star Trae Young.

“Just taking what the game gives to me,” Murray said. “Always trying to keep my teammates confident, and whether they're making or missing shots, tell them to keep going. And especially if they got good shots. Wide open? You take every single time. And if you don't, that's the second, third actions that Coach has been preaching daily.

“Just keeping everybody involved, not just myself, playing together, playing the team way.”

Dejounte Murray is on a tear for the Hawks without Trae Young

The Hawks had three other players score double-digit points on the night, but none were as efficient as Murray.

Murray shot 68% from the floor and was 6-for-10 from beyond the arc. Perhaps most impressively, he attempted just one free throw on the night. It’s just the 12th time this season he hasn’t had multiple free throw attempts.

The rest of the Hawks shot 32.2% from the floor and 9-for-25 from beyond the arc.

Murray is averaging 24.3 points, 8.4 assists, 6.1 rebounds, and 1.4 steals with Young sidelined over the last seven games.

That undoubtedly bodes well for the Hawks as they continue to navigate life without him for roughly the next two weeks until he is re-evaluated. They are now 4.0 full games up on the Brooklyn Nets, somewhat negating the impact of back-to-back losses to them last week.

Murray scored well with Young on the floor as well.

He averaged 23.4 points in his last 22 appearances before Young went down. But the Hawks are just 9-10 in their 19 games together in that span.

The best outcome would be for the Hawks to show this defensive uptick isn’t a product of who they are facing or missing from their group. If they can continue to perform like this when Young, Jalen Johnson, and Onyeka Okongwu return, they won’t be a fun postseason draw for anyone.