2. This time, the Hawks built a double-digit advantage and protected it. They’d blown three straight contests after taking double-digit leads. The Hawks led by 11 after one, expanded that to 20 by halftime and led by 24 after three quarters. The Magic (5-17) never pulled within striking distance en route to their sixth consecutive loss.
“We’ve had leads in a lot of our last games and hadn’t been able to hold them and finish the game,” guard Trae Young said. “Tonight, it was good to have our lead early and stay with it.”
Young scored 30 and contributed 14 assists.
3. Clint Capela provided one of his finest showings of the season, taking advantage of several beautiful feeds that helped him start the game 8-for-8 shooting. Capela scored 12 points in the first quarter, a career-best for him in the opening stanza. He finished with 20 points (9-for-10) and 12 rebounds.
The Hawks dominated on the interior with Capela leading the way. They scored 62 points in the paint against a Magic team missing its starting center Wendell Carter. McMillan credited the guard play for making the offense run so smoothly.
4. With the injuries – which included wing Justin Holiday, who was out due to health and safety protocols – the Hawks needed some role players to carry a larger load. Guards Trent Forrest and Jarrett Culver obliged. Culver played 30 minutes, scoring nine points, snagging 12 rebounds and collecting two steals. Forrest had four points and two rebounds in 15 minutes. Both players were solid defensively.
“They were good,” McMillan said. “They went down to the G League and played well. … I wanted to find a way to give them minutes. We were able to get Trent in the rotation the last couple games, and Jarrett got his opportunity tonight. They both were productive. We don’t win this game if those guys don’t go out and contribute the way they did tonight.”
5. The Magic aren’t a threat in the Hawks’ mission to ascend the Eastern Conference, but perhaps they’re finally building something after a largely lost decade. Their latest centerpiece is forward Paolo Banchero, the 2022 No. 1 overall pick who scored 20 points Wednesday and is the Rookie of The Year favorite. Young and McMillan profusely praised the 20-year-old, with the coach adding: “He’s already a special player, but he will, I think, one day be an All-Star.”
The Hawks are 2-0 against the Magic with two more contests remaining this season. They’ll see the Magic again in a couple weeks, Dec. 19 at State Farm Arena.
Stat to know
55 (Young registered his 55th career game with 30-plus points and 10-plus assists. He’s three such showings away from matching Magic Johnson for the seventh-most 30-point, 10-assist games in NBA history.)
“Like I tried to tell the team – we’d lost three in a row before this, dropping games we shouldn’t have – adversity is a good thing. You find out what you’re built for, whether you’re built for it or not. So for me, I loved how the energy was high at shootaround and we were ready to play. We’ll figure it out. It’s a long season and I believe in us.” - guard Dejounte Murray
The Hawks begin a two-game homestand Friday when they host the Nuggets. They’ll also face the Thunder at State Farm Arena on Dec. 5.