Overcoming slow starts to both halves, the Hawks comfortably put away the Magic, 112-96, Tuesday at State Farm Arena.
Next up, the Hawks (32-26) play in New York Wednesday, on the second half of a back-to-back.
Below are some takeaways from the win:
1. It wasn’t beautiful, but the Hawks overcame a choppy performance to pull away late from the Magic (18-40), who traded away much of their talent at the trade deadline (Nikole Vucevic, Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier). Down seven early, a 38-point second quarter helped the Hawks skate to a 65-48 lead at halftime. They had another rough start in the second half, as it took more than four minutes to make their first basket in the third quarter (a Trae Young floater at the 7:41 mark), and overall they stagnated in the third, outscored 24-15.
Entering the fourth with an 80-72 lead, the Hawks started to pull away again, with five quick points by Lou Williams helping to set the tone, plus a few energy plays from John Collins. Neither team had a good shooting night, as the Hawks shot 26.5% from 3-point range and 41.5% from the field, and the Magic shot 21.6% from 3-point range and 39.5% from the field.
“We knew this team was going to bring a lot of energy to the floor, but they’re still trying to find their rhythm and establish themselves because it is a new roster,” interim coach Nate McMillan said. “... (We) played a full 48-minute game, and that’s showing growth. A game at home that you need to get, you got. And we’re going to have a few more of these at home, and that’s the thing we’ve been talking about, we must defend our home court.”
2. Trae Young sported goggles for this game after taking an accidental hit to the right eyelid by rookie Onyeka Okongwu when trying to split a screen in Sunday’s win, experiencing some bruising and swelling. Fortunately, it didn’t impact his vision at all, and the goggles were just a precaution so he didn’t take another hit to the same area. It also didn’t impact his ability to lead the team in scoring, as he had 25 points (7-for-16 field goals, 2-for-5 from 3-point range, 9-for-10 free throws), to go with seven assists. He did add five turnovers, though, something McMillan wants him to try and limit to two or three per game.
Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@
Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@
3. This was Lou Williams’ highest-scoring game since the Hawks acquired him at the trade deadline, adding 22 points (6-for-14 FG, 2-for-7 from 3, 8-for-9 FT), to go with three rebounds and two assists. Williams was a plus-22 and has fit in well with the Hawks so far, bringing both scoring pop and shot creation off the bench: “What we want from him is to kind of feature him when he’s in that second unit, allow him to play with the ball and create offense for us, and I thought he did a great job with that tonight,” McMillan said.
4. The Hawks dominated on the boards, 68-52, with 14 second-chance points, one of the things McMillan was happiest with: “What I really loved about what we did, just dominating the boards tonight. ... That is always a key for us to win games is to control the boards.” Much of that can be attributed to center Clint Capela, who added 14 points and 19 rebounds.
5. Collins had three impressive dunks in the fourth quarter, indicating he’s recovering nicely from his left ankle sprain, in his second game back from injury. Collins had nine points and six rebounds in the fourth quarter alone, finishing with 11 points and 15 rebounds for a double-double, adding two assists.
Stat of the game
9 of 11 (with this win, the Hawks have won nine of their last 11 games and seem to be surging at the right time, with the playoffs around the corner)
Star of the game
Williams (had 22 points off the bench, in his highest-scoring performance since the Hawks acquired him at the trade deadline)
“He’s such a humble dude. For somebody who’s so accomplished in his career, for him to be the type of guy he is, it’s fun to have him in the locker room. He’s a good dude ... happy he’s back here in Atlanta.” (Young on what it’s like having Williams on the team)