Quin Snyder defends late-game decision after Hawks fall vs Hornets

Quin Snyder spoke honestly about his critical decision after the Atlanta Hawks lost a game they seemed in control of.
Atlanta Hawks head coach Quin Snyder
Atlanta Hawks head coach Quin Snyder / Paras Griffin/GettyImages

With the game perhaps unexpectedly in the balance late in the fourth quarter, Atlanta Hawks (36-44) head coach Quin Snyder held out his available starters versus the Charlotte Hornets. The Hawks emerged losers in the 115-114 affair.

Snyder backed his decision as a combination of need and opportunity.

“Well, we didn't have … that many bodies so guys were chipped maybe ten minutes off what they regularly play. Obviously, it's an opportunity for the guys on the bench,” Snyder told reporters postgame on April 10. ”I felt like we competed and, obviously, you always point to things you can do better, but, it was good to see some of those guys happen.

“They work. A lot of those guys are – whether it's, Kobe [Bufkin] or Dylan [Windler], Vit [Krejci],  Trent – those guys, they put time in. So for them to have an opportunity to play was good.”

The Hawks got Trae Young back for the game.

But they were without Dejounte Murray, De’Andre Hunter, and Jalen Johnson. The latter re-aggravated an ankle injury in the Hawks’ last outing, perhaps informing their decision to sit the other two as well as veteran Wesley Matthews in a potentially key matchup.

Quin Snyder leery of overtaxing Hawks in back-to-back(-to-back)

Still, Snyder was adamant that he didn’t come into the night expecting to “take it easy,” specifically on Bodan Bogdanovic and Clint Capela on the backend of a back-to-back.

“That's not really how I would put it,” Snyder said. “We've had guys during some situations, that we've really extended from a minutes standpoint. And it's one thing to have a back-to-back. It's another thing to have like a back-to-back-to-back, and that's almost what that was against Miami because the double overtime. 

“You're conscious of that right now. But you're always playing to win, of course, right? I don't want anybody because they're really fatigued to have something like that carry over.”

Snyder did say that Young’s 20 minutes were right in the “wheelhouse” of his limit for the night.

The Hawks got strong closing efforts from Forrest and Krejci, in particular. But they still fell short versus the Hornets, who have one of the worst records in the NBA. They are still jockeying with the Chicago Bulls for ninth place and a home game in the first round of the Play-In Tournament.

They had pulled into a virtual tie thanks to the Bulls’ loss to the New York Knicks on April 9.

The Hawks can go into a road matchup against the Bulls with confidence after beating them in Chicago on April 1. 

Hawks need to snap skid before postseason begins

However, they have now dropped four straight games and have a pair of challenging road dates ahead of them to close the regular season. First is a trip to face the Minnesota Timberwolves, owners of the Western Conference’s second-best record.

The Timberwolves are coming off a loss to the reigning champion Denver Nuggets.

After that, the Hawks will close the season against the Indiana Pacers. Indiana is fighting to wrestle the No. 5 spot away from the Orlando Magic while fending off a push from the Philadelphia 76ers for their current sixth-seed to avoid the Play-In themselves.

The Hawks are a combined 6-3 versus the Magic and Sixers this season. Moving that mark to 8-3 before the postseason would be good for team morale as they look to make the playoffs.