The Hawks’ tradition of success on Martin Luther King Day continued on Monday with a 109-99 victory over the Spurs at State Farm Arena. Atlanta moves to 22-11 in MLK Day games.

Here are five observations.

1. The Hawks (16-23) got a huge head start with the help of guard Trae Young, who outscored the Spurs (19-16) 16 minutes into the game. In the second quarter, Young was a perfect 6-of-6 from the floor and made all five of his attempts from 3. He did not miss his first shot in the second quarter until just over a minute remained in the frame.

He scored 29 of the Hawks’ 69 first-half points but cooled quickly in the second half, making just 16.7% of his overall shots in the third quarter as the Spurs carved into the Hawks lead.

He reached another major feat on Monday. Just two days after making his 1,000th career 3-pointer, Young reached 10,000 career points after knocking down a free throw with 53.8 seconds to play in the third quarter.

2. With Young cooled, the Hawks couldn’t seem to get the offense going when they came back from the locker room after halftime. Though Young tried to find teammates with some good looks, they just couldn’t get them to fall.

After outshooting the Spurs 52% to 27% in the first half, things seemed to reverse. The Hawks hit only six of their 18 field goal attempts in the third quarter and the Spurs ended up outscoring them 33-18 in the period.

The offense remained cold in the opening minutes of the fourth, with the Hawks making 20% of their attempts in the first five minutes of the final frame.

“I thought, they (the Spurs) started picking up. We got a little stagnant and weren’t moving,” Hawks coach Quin Snyder said. “And what that usually means is we’re not as connected as we need to be on offense with everybody helping each other. And that’s really the key for me.”

3. The Hawks led the Spurs 69-34 at the end of the first half but it was far from safe at the intermission. With offense falling stagnant, the defense felt the brunt of it with the Spurs opening the second half on a 10-0 run all with Victor Wembanyama on the bench. A pair of free throws from Saddiq Bey slowed down the Spurs briefly.

But it did not stop them as they got into the bodies of the Hawks and took advantage of the the turnovers they forced. It took just under 15 minutes for the Hawks to lose 20 points of their 35-point halftime lead as the Spurs quickly got back to the other end.

They scored 16 points off 11 Hawks turnovers in the second half, while scoring 10 points off of six offensive rebounds.

“They came out starting to bench so like, I think when we saw that like it was kind of like a just a let up and we can’t have that regardless who’s on the floor, who’s playing, who’s not,” Hawks forward Jalen Johnson said. “So we just got to be better in that aspect.”

4. The Spurs had a huge had from their first overall pick in Wembanyama, who the Hawks managed to hold to zero points in the first half. The rookie ended the game with 26 points, all of which came in 15 minutes after the Spurs opted to keep him on the bench to open the second half.

“My mindset has just always been being the attacker while playing defense, meaning that not just when you’re on the guy to make a move,” center Clint Capela said. “And try to be physical just be all over his space whenever I can, and that’s what I was trying to do in the first half.”

The Spurs took advantage of his ability to beat the Hawks defense, with his teammates finding him for a couple of fast break dunks.

5. The Hawks put up one of their best defensive outings of the season. Thanks to their strong focus in the first half, the Hawks held the Spurs to 16 points in the first and gave just 18 in the second quarter. It’s the fewest amount of points they have allowed, so far this season.

Stat to know

Trae Young is the 10th-youngest player in NBA history to reach 10,000 points.


“This is this is much more significant. And I think because I’m coaching the Hawks too.” -- Quin Snyder on special feeling of playing on MLK Day in Atlanta.

Up Next

The Hawks host the Magic on Wednesday at State Farm Arena.