The Hawks came back from a 15-point deficit in the fourth quarter to make it a one-possession game in the final minute, but fell to the Mavericks 122-116 Wednesday at State Farm Arena.
Next up, on the second night of a back-to-back, the Hawks (10-11) will host the Jazz Thursday.
Below are some takeaways from the loss:
1. Facing extensive attention from the Mavericks’ defense, the Hawks had to adjust as Trae Young was hardcore double-teamed throughout the game as Dallas (9-13) tried to keep the ball out of his hands.
Young finished with 21 points (8-18 field goals, 3-8 from 3, 2-3 free throws) and nine assists. He had six points in a quiet first half, but the Hawks still had a 56-53 lead heading into the second half. With the game tied at 76, Young was subbed out with with 2:49 left in the third, and the Hawks entered the fourth down, 88-83. He stayed on the bench to start the fourth and the Hawks got down 95-87 before he was subbed back in at the 9:31 mark.
“They did a good job, credit to them, of taking Trae out of the action early and really, when they needed to, denying him the basketball and forcing other guys to make plays,” Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce said.
With Young facing so much heat, it sometimes fell to wing Kevin Huerter to run the offense, who had a season-high 10 assists and tied his season-high in scoring with 21 points.
2. John Collins led the Hawks in scoring with 35 points (16-21 FG, 3-4 from 3), which ties his career-high. Collins had 13 points in the fourth quarter and helped the Hawks make a game of it again. He added 12 rebounds for a double-double.
3. The Hawks faced a 15-point deficit with about four minutes left in the fourth quarter, as the Mavericks picked up steam. Eventually, the Hawks got enough stops (limiting Luka Doncic to four points in the fourth) to make it a 3-point game three times, thanks to a deep 3-pointer and two driving layups by Young, who had 12 points in the fourth.
With the Hawks trailing, 115-112, Doncic missed a shot but Kristaps Porzingis (24 points, 11 rebounds) grabbed an offensive rebound and finished with a layup, which was a big blow.
“Just kind of something that we’ve got to come up with,” Huerter said. “Those are the things that matter when you’re trying to win close games like this.”
3. Doncic hadn’t played against the Hawks since Dec. 12, 2018, though he did face Young twice in last year’s Rising Stars game and All-Star game. There will always be a little added intrigue when Young and Doncic play each other, given the history of the 2018 NBA draft, when the Hawks drafted Doncic but traded him to Dallas in exchange for Young and a future first-round pick, which became Cam Reddish.
Doncic led the Mavericks in scoring with 27 points (8-20 FG, 1-5 from 3, 10-10 FT) and added 14 assists and eight rebounds to help Dallas break a six-game losing streak.
4. Danilo Gallinari had a season-high 19 points (4-11 FG, 2-8 from 3, 9-9 FT) and provided some scoring pop off the bench, which is something the Hawks were missing at the beginning of the season, with so many guys out. Tony Snell also contributed a solid eight points off the bench, going 2-for-2 from 3-point range.
Stat of the game
16 (the amount of turnovers the Hawks committed, with seven coming in the first quarter alone)
Star of the game
Collins (tied a career-high with 35 and had 13 in the fourth quarter, helping the Hawks’ comeback efforts)
“I haven’t faced a defense like that in a long, long time. Just them trapping me as soon as I got the ball in, just to get it out of my hands.” (Young on Dallas’ approach on defense)