Despite latest loss, Hawks fans cautiously optimistic about future

The Hawks are about one-fourth of the way through their NBA season, sitting at 11-9 through 20 games after losing 106-98 to the Heat on Sunday at State Farm Arena.

With the loss, the Hawks have consecutive losses for the second time this season after alternating wins and losses for the last eight games.

The inconsistent start has left fans, including members of the 6th Man Section, cautiously optimistic about the team.

“I think it still is a revenge game,” said 6th Man member Nolan Carroll before Sunday’s game. “They are missing players (including starter Jimmy Butler), but there are still some players on the floor we want to get a little bit back at, but missing someone like Jimmy Butler, where he and Trae (Young) can get intense because both like to be villains, is tough, but I think it will still carry some intensity.”

The Heat and Hawks squared off in the 2022 postseason in April, with Miami winning 4-1 in the first-round series.

The rivalry – and chippiness – continued Sunday night. The Heat’s Tyler Herro and Max Strus scrapped with Hawks players throughout the contest.

Despite the loss, Carroll remains optimistic about the Hawks’ future.

“Not having (Clint) Capela (dental injury) or (Bogdan) Bogdanović (knee) was definitely tough. Dejounte Murray not having his hottest night along with AJ (Griffin), it was a rough night, but he’s going to be great for the future and rough nights happen, it’ll be OK.”

Fans had high expectations for Murray and Young when the season started, and they continue to find their rhythm. Murray has been solid, especially on defense. His 38 steals coming into Sunday’s game were second in the NBA.

On offense, Murray has lived up to the hype as a distributor – with 131 assists before Sunday’s contest. Young also has been able to distribute the ball, totaling 164 assists before Sunday’s action to rank second in the league.

“Dejounte Murray has been great,” Carroll said as other fans from the 6th Man Section nodded in agreement. “Going to get him and giving up what we gave up, I think we won that particular trade. Especially with (Danilo) Gallinari getting injured and how much Murray has brought us production overall with or without Trae, having someone to move the ball around better is nice to see.”

Hawks fans have had a mixed reaction about the organization’s trade of Kevin Huerter to the Kings, but they believe the current roster can make a long playoff run in 2023.