Led by Bogdan Bogdanovic in his return, a huge push from the bench unit helped the Hawks (22-25) squash the Kings, 121-104, at State Farm Arena Wednesday.

Next up, the Hawks will continue their five-game homestand and host the Celtics Friday.

Below are some takeaways from the win:

1. The Hawks have won five straight games and continue to inch closer to .500 at 22-25. They need every win possible to help climb out of a hole, the No. 12 spot in the Eastern Conference, which they fell in after a 17-25 start to the season.

2. Bogdanovic made a splash playing in his first game since Jan. 14, having missed five games with right knee soreness. After the Hawks got down 14 toward the end of the first quarter, Bogdanvic came off the bench and led the second unit on a red-hot stretch which helped Atlanta take the lead, 53-47, and glide to a 67-50 lead at halftime. Bogdanovic was on a minute restriction but added 18 points, seven assists, three rebounds and a steal, finishing as a plus-16 in about 23 minutes. He looked in rhythm shooting the ball, which is a good sign for the Hawks, as Bogdanovic getting hot from 3-point range helped them turn the season around from a 14-20 start to an Eastern Conference finals run.

After the game, Bogdanovic said it doesn’t matter to him if he comes off the bench or starts, moving forward: “I never cared in my career. I always wanted to win. I will never put that in my head. I like to go out and play the game that I love, so if coach thinks that can make (us) win the game, then you know, I will do whatever it takes. In the summertime, you can see what is your goals and you can talk, but now, you have to sacrifice. ... We are all here living a nice life, getting paid and enjoying the game, and you have to get into it, you have to sacrifice.”

Hawks forward Danilo Gallinari goes in for a reverse slam against Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield during a 121-104 victory in a NBA basketball game on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022, in Atlanta.   “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”`

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

icon to expand image

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

3. Ultimately, the Hawks dominated the second quarter, 46-17, marking the largest positive point differential (plus-29) in any quarter for the Hawks in the last 20 seasons. Atlanta had 41 bench points by halftime, finishing with 70 overall. The second unit has been productive on this five-game stretch, and in addition to Bogdanovic’s success, Lou Williams added 15 points and five assists (finishing as a plus-20) Delon Wright had six points, one assist and a steal (plus-12), Danilo Gallinari had seven points and nine rebounds (plus-16) and Onyeka Okongwu had 18 points, seven rebounds and two assists (plus-22).

“I thought they really gave us a lift,” Hawks coach Nate McMillan said of the bench unit. “I thought our first unit started off slow and the second unit just came in and really established the defense, was able to get some stops and get out in transition. They had really good chemistry even though Bogi hasn’t played with that unit a lot. So it was good to see those guys play well.”

Hawks guard Trae Young soars to the basket for two past a host of Sacramento Kings defenders in a NBA basketball game on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022, in Atlanta.   “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”`

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

icon to expand image

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

4. Although the past four Hawks wins on this streak have come against teams in playoff standing, this was a Kings team playing without leading scorer De’Aaron Fox (21 points per game), out with left ankle soreness. They also were on the second night of a back-to-back, having lost to the Celtics, 128-75, in Boston Tuesday. The Kings have now lost five consecutive games, the exact opposite of the Hawks’ recent fate.

5. To illustrate just how injured and transient the Hawks’ roster has been over the past few seasons, this was the first instance since Jan. 3 of 2020 that the Hawks had a completely clean injury report. They entered the night with Bogdanovic (right knee soreness), De’Andre Hunter (low back soreness) and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (non-COVID illness) on the injury report, but all were available to play.

Stat of the game: 70.8% (what the Hawks shot from the field in a lights-out second quarter)

Star of the game: Bogdanovic (in his first game back from injury, tied for a team-high with 18 points

Quotable: “We’re a playoff team. Starting to play like one. We’ve just got to continue to stay consistent through this stretch.” (Okongwu on the Hawks’ energy during their recent success)