Hawks look to get more out backcourt tandem in postseason

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

The Hawks haven’t gotten off to the best start in their Eastern Conference playoffs first-round series against the Celtics. But they’ve gotten a lift from guard Dejounte Murray in each of the first two games, and backcourt partner Trae Young promises to be better.

As in the regular season, the Hawks’ backcourt has had its ups and downs that has trickled into the postseason.

Throughout the season, Murray and Young would have on-nights and off-nights, but the two rarely seemed to click at the same time consistently. They ended the regular season as the second set of teammates in NBA history to average at least 20 points and six assists per game in a single season (with a minimum 70 games played), according to Elias Sports Bureau. They joined Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen of the 1991-92 Chicago Bulls.

But with the postseason well underway, the team needs both players to play efficiently if the Hawks have a chance of overcoming an 0-2 deficit in the series.

Through the first two games, Murray has combined for 21-of-49 from the floor and 7-of-19 on 3-point shots for 53 points. But his backcourt partner has not found the same spark.

Though Young has combined for 40 points over the first two games in the series, it has come at an inefficient 14-of-40 from the floor and 3-of-13 on 3-pointers.

Since Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals in 2021, Young has struggled in the postseason. He has shot 17.5% from 3-point shots on 7.1 attempts per game.

Young, though, knows he’s capable of more, and he looks to use the home-court advantage the Hawks will have Friday and Saturday in Game 3 and Game 4.

“I can be better,” he said following the Hawks’ loss in Game 2 on Tuesday. “I didn’t shoot the ball really well, I did have some turnovers where I was just driving and (the ball) left my hands, but I’m gonna be better at home.”