Hawks drop home opener versus Knicks

The Hawks looked to get on the right side of the win column in their home opener Friday night. But the Knicks spoiled the party and handed them a 126-120 loss at State Farm Arena.

Here are five observations.

1. After falling in a hole, the Hawks had a chance to take the game back with 17.4 seconds remaining.

The Hawks struggled to make stops throughout the night but they made them including a Trae Young steal that forced the Knicks to foul and put him on the line. Young, who had 18 points and 12 assists, sank both free throws to pull the Hawks within 122-120.

Then the Hawks forced the Knicks to turn over the ball out of bounds and they had the chance to tie the game or get out in front. But a bobbled pass sealed their fate.

The Hawks didn’t execute enough and their mistakes proved too much to overcome.

“I was obviously happy with the way we battled back in the fourth quarter,” Hawks coach Quin Snyder said. “But we made too many mistakes relative to you know, execution of the game plan, contesting the shot. When we did some of those things, we saw some success and just said it’s a question of doing them all the time.”

2. The Hawks had a rough outing offensively Wednesday in the opener, sinking just 41.9% of their field goals and going 5-of-29 from 3.

On Friday they found a groove in front of their home crowd, shooting 48.3% from the floor and 12-of-32 from distance.

Those 3s came in handy in the first half as the they looked to erase a 10-point hole. It came in handy again late in the game with Hawks forward De’Andre Hunter, who notched 27 points and six rebounds, hitting a 3 that pulled the Hawks within 122-118.

Despite the small step forward offensively, the Hawks know that they still have to improve their focus to improve their execution on both ends of the floor.

“Like last game we had moments,” Young said. “They played physical. I mean, you got to match their physicality. They hit a lot of open shots. I mean, we were playing our type of defense, helping and shifting and we kind of had to get out of it. They were hitting some threes and but yeah, no, it’s just a game we’re gonna have to learn from, we’ll be better from it. And I think what we’ll learn from it will be good.”

3. Despite the Hawks’ improved offensive performance, they struggled to maintain control of the game and the ball. The Hawks ended the night with 14 turnovers, which led to 23 Knicks points.

4. After a career night in the season opener on Wednesday, forward Jalen Johnson continued to give the Hawks energy off the bench.

The 21-year-old had a highlight night, posterizing Knicks guard Josh Hart and Isaiah Hartenstein in one possession. Johnson took a bounce pass from the free-throw line before launching into the air and slamming the ball down with one hand, dropping Hart and bumping Hartenstein out of his way,

He looked to blow the top off of State Farm Arena again. After picking of the Knicks’ RJ Barrett, Johnson took the ball down court with Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley shifting out of his path as he went to dunk the ball in transition.

Johnson ended the night with 11 points and nine rebounds.

5. The Hawks knew that they would need to slow Knicks guard Jalen Brunson down because of the havoc he can create all over the floor. While the Hawks did a good job of keeping Brunson out of the paint, they often left him plenty of space to sink uncontested 3s.

The Knicks guard had 26 points by the end of his stint in the third quarter after knocking 8-of-12 shots from 3. Brunson did not hit a 3-pointer in the fourth but the Knicks ended the night 20-of-44 from distance.

He end the night with 31 points with five assists.

Stat to know

168 -- Trae Young has recorded his 168th career point/assist double-double, only two shy of tying John Wall for the seventh-most in NBA history by any player age 25 or younger.


“I think we just have to keep working on it. Watch film, learn where to get better from that. So it’s a little different than what we have been doing. So I think we just have to keep working at it. You know, two games into the season, we can’t overreact we just gotta get better.” -- De’Andre Hunter on being in the right spots defensively.

Up next

The Hawks travel to Milwaukee to face Damian Lillard and the new-look Bucks on Sunday.