Dejounte Murray poured in 20 points and dished out nine assists without his running mate, Trae Young, in the Atlanta Hawks’ loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.
It was their third straight loss and seventh in the last 10 games. At 9-12 on the season, they would have to improve to match their record from last season which embodied mediocrity at 41-41. When asked what areas the Hawks needed to improve in, Murray had a broad but telling answer.
“I think just from a execution standpoint,” Murray said via the team.
“We, obviously, started the game out slow. But we picked it up and found a groove with each other, and just a rhythm in the game, and just a legit flow of the ball moving around. And defense – talking to each other, helping each other out. Getting stops getting out running. Then when you get to that last five, six minutes, I think we kind of stop executing.”
The Hawks went scoreless from the 5:03 mark until there was less than one minute to go, surrendering a lead early in the process.
“We start trying to call certain things, and I think our best was when we was able to just play: move the ball a lot, get good looks,” Murray said. “We start taking tougher shots and turning the ball over, and that don't help.”
Head coach Quin Snyder also lamented that final stretch, though he commended their effort.
“And then, obviously them shooting 37 free throws doesn't help at all,” the eighth-year guard said.
For comparison, the Hawks were more efficient at the free throw line. But they also had 21 fewer attempts. They won the rebounding battle (plus-7), equaling that margin in second-chance points, and matched Philly in paint points. But they were also minus-9 in foul calls and were minus-3 in the turnover margin.
Dejounte Murray praises Hawks' teammates work behind the scenes
Murray acknowledged that they had to adjust without Young’s 27.2 points or 10.6 assists in this one. But he slightly disagreed that it was a “next man up” mentality.
Instead, Murray cited the work everyone puts in so they can be the next man up if necessary.
“Honestly, I wouldn't even call it ‘next man mentality,’ Murray said. “These dudes work hard every single day. Obviously, it's the NBA. When guys are out it's next ‘man up mentality’. But a lot of these guys could do so many things.
“I trust a lot of them guys ‘cause I see the work they put in. I see the film they watch and just their hunger and their just passion to win. So I think just you take the positive negatives and you just try to keep pushing and getting better. It's still early in the year. But we got to figure it out and nobody's going to feel bad for us. So we just got to figure it out together.”