Hawks fall to Warriors as both teams mourn loss of Golden State assistant

A spotlight shines on the seat of late Golden State Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojevic, who died Jan. 17 after suffering a heart attack, before an NBA basketball game between the Warriors and the Atlanta Hawks, Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

A spotlight shines on the seat of late Golden State Warriors assistant coach Dejan Milojevic, who died Jan. 17 after suffering a heart attack, before an NBA basketball game between the Warriors and the Atlanta Hawks, Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Warriors played with heavy hearts and the shorthanded Hawks played with heavy legs and the result was a 134-112 win for Golden State Wednesday night.

Before the game, the Warriors paid tribute to assistant coach Dejan Milojevic, who died due to a heart attack a week earlier.

Here are five observations on the game:

1. The Warriors returned to the court for the first time in eight days. The Hawks just couldn’t stop them, allowing Golden State to shoot over 50% from the floor in all four quarters. The Warriors also made 50% of their shots from 3 in all but one quarter.

The Hawks just couldn’t keep up with the constant movement of the Warriors. Three different players, including Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Jonathan Kuminga scored 20 or more points. Six different Warriors ended the night in double figures.

The game marked the 400th victory of Curry (25 points), Thompson (24 points) and Draymond Green (12 points) together.

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green cries after watching a video tribute for late assistant coach Dejan Milojevic, who died Jan. 17 after suffering a heart attack, before an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks, Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

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2. When the Warriors settled down and found a groove, the Hawks needed time to adjust. The Warriors went on several runs over the course of the game and often limited the Hawks to just one or two field goals in that span.

The Hawks went nearly five minutes without a field goal after opening the game 5-of-8 from the floor. Guard Patty Mills broke the drought, with a 3 from the corner with 3:37 left in the first. He followed with another 39 seconds later, then his third with 10:22 left in the second quarter.

It sparked some life in the Hawks’ offense as they chipped away at the Warriors’ lead, trailing 69-68 at halftime.

“I felt like we competed,” Hawks coach Quin Snyder said. “Obviously their bench had a big night ... and we weren’t able to get stops at certain times. And that makes it hard for us. We were scoring a little bit in transition ourselves, so they played well. Like I said that I thought our guys worked and competed and were unselfish.”

3. The Warriors put bodies on the Hawks, forcing them into some tough shots. The Hawks made just seven field goals in the third quarter as the Warriors disrupted their rhythm. The Warriors, who averaged 16 points off turnovers coming into the night, scored 22 points off the Hawks’ 11 turnovers with 9:08 still to play in the game.

They trailed 113-100 with 7:55 to play in the game and as they struggled to get shots to fall, the Warriors continued to pull away.

4. The Hawks encouraged forward Saddiq Bey to keep shooting the ball amid his shooting slump. Heading into Wednesday’s game, Bey shot 25-of-96 from 3 over the previous 15 games.

But Bey shot the ball well early in the matchup against the Warriors, going 3-of-5 from distance in his first 19 minutes.

He’s also tried to find ways to impact the game and develop into a more multifaceted player.

“For me, it’s like, if the shot’s not going in, can I keep rebounding, can I defend and can I put pressure on the rim,” he said

5. Wednesday’s loss showed how much injuries have decimated the Hawks’ depth. They played their second straight game without Trae Young, who entered the NBA’s concussion protocol Saturday. They also did not have De’Andre Hunter, who continues to rehab after undergoing a non-surgical procedure to address right knee inflammation.

While the Hawks got a boost of scoring from Mills, who had 13 points, the Hawks’ reserves just could not take advantage of the minutes Curry was off the court in the second half. They trailed the Warriors 113-100 when he checked back into the game with just under eight minutes to play and the deficit just continued to grow.

The Warriors’ bench ended up outscoring the Hawks 61-22 by the end of the game.

“That young core over there as well and guys like (Kuminga) being able to be aggressive and be himself,” Mills said. “He was hard to stop. ... Credit to them that defensively in the second half just really got them going.”

Stat to know

3 -- After making his third 3, the Hawks’ Patty Mills has 1,230 career 3-pointers off the bench. He’s just five 3s away from tying Lou Williams for the third-most triples as a reserve in the NBA since at least the 1979-80 season.

Quotable

“I think you could (feel it) before, even at shootaround this morning, you could you feel the I guess the pain and how it affected obviously the Warriors family, but also the rest of the NBA family, with everyone’s connections that they had with (Dejan Milojevic).” -- Mills on if he felt the Warriors’ emotion as they grieve.

Up next

The Hawks return to State Farm Arena on Friday to host the Mavericks.