Hawks clean up play in win over Wizards

Trae Young dribbles up the court during the first half of Monday's Wizards-Hawks game at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Hakim Wright Sr.)

Credit: AP Photo/Hakim Wright Sr.

Credit: AP Photo/Hakim Wright Sr.

Trae Young dribbles up the court during the first half of Monday's Wizards-Hawks game at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Hakim Wright Sr.)

With better ball movement and shot selection, the Hawks (4-3) beat the Wizards 118-111 Monday at State Farm Arena.

Next up, the Hawks will play in Brooklyn Wednesday.

Below are some takeaways from the win:

1. After two tough losses, one in Washington (5-2) Thursday and one in Philadelphia Saturday, the Hawks had several things they needed to clean up — namely starting better, improving the shot selection and overall connection on offense. They accomplished all of those in Monday’s win with the highest-scoring first quarter of season (34 points), not settling for as many midrange attempts and working together more cohesively.

“This is the basketball we’re capable of playing every night,” Hawks coach Nate McMillan said. “This is the basketball that we want to play every night… We didn’t settle for the quick, contested jump shots. We didn’t settle for the pull-up. We got to the basket, we got to the rim and we got to the free-throw line.”

2. Being more aggressive and attacking the basket paid off for the Hawks, who finished with a season-high in free-throw attempts and makes (29-29). That’s a category they’ve been struggling in (No. 29 in the league at 15.8 per game, entering Monday). They actually nearly set a new season-high in the first half alone, going 20-for-20 (previously it was 21 in the win vs. Detroit Oct. 25). Trae Young, who averaged 8.7 free-throw attempts per game last season but 4.3 through this year’s first six games, amid new NBA rule changes, led the way, going 11-for-11. Interestingly, the Wizards went 16-16 from the line, so neither team missed a free throw.

Bogdan Bogdanovic (13) moves the ball past Washington Wizards Kyle Kuzma (33) during the first half of an NBA basketball game on Monday, Nov. 1, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Hakim Wright Sr.)

Credit: AP Photo/Hakim Wright Sr.

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Credit: AP Photo/Hakim Wright Sr.

“We got some calls tonight,” Young said. “It was fun. Both teams were playing physical and the refs called it the way it should have been and guys were making free throws, so it was a good night, especially making some free throws.”

3. John Collins had another good game for the Hawks, doing a little bit of everything. He tied a career-high with six assists, adding 12 points, nine rebounds and a block. He was also integral to the Hawks’ push in the fourth quarter to take control of the game. With a seven-point lead midway through the fourth, he pulled down a clutch offensive rebound to keep a possession alive, then assisted on a make by De’Andre Hunter. At the 3:32 mark, he added a layup to stretch the lead to 16.

“Tonight is a night where I felt like something was working, and I’m the type of guy that’s going to use the well until it dries,” Collins said. “If that’s how the night goes, then I’ll keep passing the ball around.”

4. Bogdan Bogdanovic hadn’t looked fully like himself shooting the ball to start the year, after being banged up through the preseason, but had a season-high four 3′s (4-6) and finished with 16 points in Monday’s win. He looked in-rhythm and much more aggressive, also adding six rebounds and six assists.

5. With a balanced scoring attack, seven Hawks players finished in double-figures: Young (26), Bogdanovic (16), Clint Capela (16), Cam Reddish (15), Collins (12), Danilo Gallinari (12) and Hunter (11). The Hawks tallied 24 assists and shot 38.2% from 3-point range (13-34).

Stat of the game: 29-29 (what the Hawks shot from the line, setting a new season-high in a category they’ve struggled in)

Star of the game: Young (led the Hawks in scoring with 26 points and was a plus-19)

Quotable: “I just love him. He comes in with a smile and just plays for 48 minutes.” (McMillan on Collins’ outlook and ability to affect the game in several ways)