2. Defensively, the first half was rough for the Hawks, with the rebuilding Thunder (6-11) sticking around despite missing leading scorer Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (20.4 points per game), sidelined with a right ankle sprain (they were also down coach Mark Daigneault, out for the birth of his child so assistant coach David Bliss filled in). But, they cleaned things up and limited the Thunder to 11 points in the third quarter, taking control of the game and breaking open a 22-point lead heading into the fourth.
“We really didn’t make any adjustments, I thought our guys just locked in and started to play defense,” Hawks coach Nate McMillan said. “We started to get pressure on the basketball. We did a better job of keeping the ball in front of us and not allowing them to break us down, and we were able to establish our defense in that third quarter, which was the message.”
3. This game was a good example of how John Collins has leveled up. He showed more of his passing progress, which adds another layer to his game and the Hawks overall, finishing with 11 points, six rebounds, five assists and a steal, with a career-high tying five blocks, as well. This was his first career game of 10-plus points, five-plus rebounds, five-plus assists and four-plus blocks.
4. In the second half, Trae Young’s 3-point shot began falling, which helped the Hawks to a good night beyond the arc (41.2%, or 14-for-34). Young had a game-high 30 points and went 5-for-9 from 3-point range overall (4-for-8 from 3, 21 points in the second half), adding six assists, four rebounds and one steal.
5. For the second straight outing, even in a win, the Hawks didn’t have a great rebounding game. The Thunder out-rebounded the Hawks, 60-46, grabbing 17 offensive rebounds to the Hawks’ eight, which helped them extend possessions. In Saturday’s win vs. the Hornets, the Hornets had a 58-50 rebounding advantage (21-8 offensive).
Hawks 113, Thunder 101 (box score)
Stat of the game: 11 (what the Hawks held the Thunder to in scoring in the third quarter, taking control of the game)
Star of the game: Young (came alive with 21 points in the second half to help the Hawks to a win)
Quotable: “We knew what we wanted to do and accomplish, coming on this home stretch. After what we did at home we knew we needed to take care of business.” (Young on the Hawks’ goals entering this homestand, after losing six straight)