Despite ‘heavy legs,’ Hawks beat Magic on second night of back-to-back

Orlando's Chuma Okeke battles John Collins of the Hawks while Delon Wright reaches in during the first half of Monday's game at State Farm Arena. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
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Orlando's Chuma Okeke battles John Collins of the Hawks while Delon Wright reaches in during the first half of Monday's game at State Farm Arena. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Credit: AP Photo/John Bazemore

Pulling away in the second half, the Hawks (6-9) beat the Magic 129-111 on the second half of a back-to-back Monday at State Farm Arena.

Next up, an off day before hosting the Celtics Wednesday.

Below are some takeaways from the win:

1. The Magic (3-11) entered the game averaging 99.1 points per game, the second-fewest in the league, but played a scrappy first half to make the Hawks earn their 60-56 lead at halftime. They pushed the pace to try and tire the Hawks, who were playing on the second night of a back-to-back, having beaten the Bucks Sunday.

But Atlanta found a rhythm in the second half, with four players finishing with 20-plus points in scoring: Trae Young (23 points, six assists, four rebounds), John Collins (23 points, three rebounds, three assists, two blocks, two steals), Clint Capela (20 points, 16 rebounds, three steals, two blocks) and Bogdan Bogdanovic (20 points, four assists).

“Obviously, back-to-backs are very tough, so able to have one at home, able to take advantage of it and come out here and play hard,” Young said. “They tested us by playing fast and playing hard, but we were able to, our second unit came in and helped us big-time tonight. It was good for us.”

2. Capela continues to look more like his old self, an excellent sign for the Hawks as they need him anchoring the defense and finishing at the rim on offense, and Bogdanovic seems to be finding a rhythm too. Both of those players are still rehabbing from injuries, but getting more production from them will be key if the Hawks want to reach the playoffs and be competitive.

Capela’s 20 points were a season-high, and his 16 tied a season-high, with Bogdanovic’s 20 points also a season-high. Coach Nate McMillan followed a similar rotation pattern to Sunday’s win vs. the Bucks, in terms of keeping at least one starter on the court to boost bench units.

3. After losing six straight games and going 0-4 on a road trip out west, the Hawks have now won two games in a row at State Farm Arena. Concluding that disappointing trip, McMillan said the Hawks needed to return home and make up some ground, and that’s what they’ve been doing so far. They’ve got three more games on this five-game homestand: vs. Boston Wednesday, vs. Charlotte Saturday and vs. Oklahoma City Monday.

4. This was the first game for the Hawks after announcing they’ll be without De’Andre Hunter long-term, after he underwent wrist surgery Monday morning (he’ll miss approximately eight weeks). Kevin Huerter started in Hunter’s stead, as he did in Sunday’s win when Hunter was unavailable, though Huerter began experiencing left hamstring tightness and only played 16 minutes, with Solomon Hill starting the third quarter in Huerter’s place.

“Kevin felt like something was about to pull in the first half,” McMillan said after the game. “His hamstring got a little tight. They tried to loosen him up during halftime, and it just didn’t feel right. He couldn’t go. We’ll check on him. I just spoke with him. He said it felt a little tight. He didn’t want to pull it. So he’ll get treatment.”

5. For the second game in a row, the Hawks got good outings from Danilo Gallinari (10 points, seven rebounds, three assists, plus-16) and Lou Williams (11 points, two rebounds, one assist) off the bench, after slow starts to the season. And Cam Reddish (eight points, three rebounds, two assists) had a solid performance off the bench, as well. That was certainly key, with both Hunter and Huerter out.

Stat of the game: 32 (the season-high amount of assists the Hawks tallied, with Young leading the way with six, Delon Wright adding five and Bogdanovic adding four)

Star of the game: Young (led the Hawks in scoring with 23 points, finishing as a plus-18)

Quotable: “It was a gut-check, and I thought our guys stayed with it. We could tell they were running with heavy legs, really in that first half, and we really needed our bench, and I thought our guys came through tonight, both that first and second unit.” (McMillan on the Hawks pushing through despite fatigue on the second half of a back-to-back)

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