Dejounte Murray calls out Hawks' gameplan after Play-In Tournament loss to Bulls

Dejounte Murray offered pointed comments about the Atlanta Hawks' loss to the Chicago Bulls in the Play-In Tournament.
Atlanta Hawks guards Trae Young and Dejounte Murray
Atlanta Hawks guards Trae Young and Dejounte Murray / Jamie Sabau/GettyImages

Could the Atlanta Hawks (36-46) have handled things differently against the Chicago Bulls?

Dejounte Murray seems to believe they could have at least adjusted their approach as the Bulls rattled off an onslaught of points.

“I guess the gameplan was they wanted the double DeMar [DeRozan]. So you're the players. You respect your coaches, and you follow the gameplan. And that was the gameplan,” Murray told reporters after the game on April 17. You see we was doubling DeMar, and that gave other guys confidence. 

“I wish they would have missed shots. I wish they didn't gain confidence this game. But it's the NBA. They work hard. They're here for a reason. So we're doubling one of their teammates all game long so it just it's up to them to make or miss shots, and they made shots.”

The Bulls jumped out to an 18-point lead only for the Hawks to claw their way back into the contest with a strong second quarter. But their third-quarter woes persisted, and the Bulls never looked back after that.

Hawks head coach Quin Snyder lauded De’Andre Hunter’s (eight points, four assists) defense effort on DeRozan, who finished with 22 points on 52.6% shooting, adding nine assists, and six rebounds.

However, a career-high 42 points for Coby White paced the Bulls’ offense on the night with Ayo Dosunmu (19 points, three assists) catching fire late too.

Four Hawks scored at least 21 points, but no others hit even the double-digit mark on the night.

Dejounte Murray quiet in second half of Hawks' loss

Murray finished with a team-high 30 points, adding seven rebounds, six assists, and two steals in the contest. But it could be viewed as a mild disappointment after he scored 23 points in the first half alone.

After putting up 14 attempts in the first half and shooting 57.1% from the floor, he shot 42.9% on just seven attempts in the second half. Murray took just seven shots in the fourth quarter.

But his comments about the Hawks’ defense will be a talking point this offseason.

“The gameplan was throwing two guys at people. So wherever they caught the ball, they were either taking a shot or they had a lane to drive. And you are rotating all over the place and that's it. For me, I want to guard guys. That's just a prideful thing for me and how I was raised. But like I said, you follow the gameplan. That was the game plan and you win or lose basketball games, and we fell short.”

Frustrations run high after regular season losses, so it wouldn’t be a stretch to suggest Murray’s comments are merely a player venting. However, it was telling for the short-handed Hawks to opt against switching up their strategy.

It will also be telling as the Hawks figure to make a crucial decision about Murray and Tray Young’s pairing in the backcourt.