Hawks reach .500 mark with win over Rockets

Credit: AJC

Here's a quick game-by-game look at the Hawks' six-game winning streak.

Credit: AJC

The Hawks (20-20) held off a comeback to beat the Rockets 119-107 Tuesday night in Houston.

Next up, the Hawks will host Oklahoma City Thursday before leaving for an eight-game road trip out West.

Below are some takeaways from the win:

1. The Hawks extended their winning streak to six games, the longest since winning seven straight from Dec. 28, 2016-Jan. 10, 2017. They also hit an important milestone, getting to .500 at 20-20, an encouraging sign from a team hoping to make the playoffs. The last time they were at .500 through 40 games was the 2016-17 season (23-17).

2. This was a potential trap game for the Hawks — even though they were shorthanded (missing Clint Capela, De’Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish, Kris Dunn and Onyeka Okongwu with injuries). They were facing a massively struggling Rockets team (11-27) that has been decimated by injuries, only had eight players available Tuesday and had lost 16 straight games. Among others, the Rockets were without John Wall, Christian Wood, P.J. Tucker, Danuel House Jr. and Eric Gordon. The Hawks nearly fell into that trap, but a strong fourth quarter made it 17 consecutive losses for Houston.

3. After leading by as much as 23 in the second quarter and 15 at halftime, a disaster of a third quarter whittled the Hawks’ advantage down to one point going into the fourth.

The Rockets briefly tied things up, 97-97, but two quick 3-pointers by Kevin Huerter (16 points, five rebounds) and Tony Snell (15 points, five assists) got the Hawks pointed in the right direction. Another 3 by Snell made it 112-101 at the 2:34 mark and the Hawks limited the Rockets to 15 points in the fourth to pull away for the win.

“In this league, you can lose to anybody, and you can beat anybody,” interim coach Nate McMillan said. “They were shorthanded tonight. We knew they would scrap. They have some talent over there, and we played some good basketball in the first quarter. Our defense got away from us in the second and third, and then we found our defense in the fourth quarter, which really gave us the win.”

4. Veteran forward Danilo Gallinari led the team with 29 points (10-14 field goals, 5-8 from 3-point range, 4-4 free throws) and has scored 20-plus points in four out of his last five games.

The Hawks had a size advantage, which helped fellow frontcourt players John Collins to a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds, with four blocks, and two-way rookie Nathan Knight to 15 points off the bench.

Atlanta Hawks forward Nathan Knight (1) dunks the ball as Houston Rockets center Justin Patton, left, looks on during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, March 16, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
Atlanta Hawks forward Nathan Knight (1) dunks the ball as Houston Rockets center Justin Patton, left, looks on during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, March 16, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

Credit: Michael Wyke

Credit: Michael Wyke

5. Trae Young (13 points, 14 assists) had 10 assists in the first half alone, the fourth time in his career he’s reached 10 assists in a single half. He had a quiet scoring game. Overall, the Hawks finished with 32 assists, reaching the 30-assist mark for the sixth time this season.

Stat of the game

35% (or 7-for-20 shooting, what the Hawks held the Rockets to from the floor in the fourth quarter)

Star of the game

Danilo Gallinari (led the Hawks in scoring with 29 points, going 5-for-8 from 3)

Quotable

“My first two years in Atlanta, we definitely haven’t been .500 at this point in the season, so it definitely feels good.” (Kevin Huerter on being .500 in the second half of the season)

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