DALLAS – The Hawks (25-28) struggled shooting the ball in a 103-94 loss to the Mavericks (31-23) Sunday at American Airlines Center.
Next up, the Hawks return to Atlanta and will host the Pacers Tuesday.
Below are some takeaways from the loss:
1. The Hawks’ defense wasn’t spectacular in this game, but clunky offense was a big reason for the loss, despite owning the No. 2 offensive rating in the league (113.2). For the second game in a row, Atlanta struggled shooting from 3-point range, going 5-for-25 (20%) from beyond the arc, settling for rushed jump shots instead of attacking the rim, compared to the Mavericks’ 16-for-36 (44.4%). It’s an out-of-character mark for the No. 2 3-point shooting team in the NBA (37.3%), which fell to three games under .500 with the loss, not ideal as they try to gain ground in the Eastern Conference standings (they’re still in play-in tournament contention, at No. 10 as of Sunday evening).
2. Two of the Mavericks’ top facilitators and scorers, Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson, got into some unusual foul trouble in the game, but Dallas overcame it. Doncic played well in the first half but had four fouls at halftime and picked up his fifth foul in the first minute of the second half, then got hit with a technical foul. Brunson picked up his fifth foul at the 6:21 mark of the third quarter. Doncic only played 53 seconds in the third and Brunson played 5:39, but the Hawks couldn’t take advantage, entering the fourth quarter down four, 80-76, same as their halftime deficit (54-50). Doncic finished with a triple-double with 18 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds, with five fouls, and Brunson had a team-high 22 points, five assists and five rebounds, with five fouls.
“I thought the game was a missed opportunity,” Hawks coach Nate McMillan said. “Certainly that was a missed opportunity, when Luka went out, but teams, a lot of times when the best player goes out, they rise to the occasion. And they got even more aggressive.”
3. Down 90-86 with 4:04 left in the fourth, a poor sequence for the Hawks put them too far behind to recover. First, Reggie Bullock intercepted a De’Andre Hunter (14 points, six rebounds, two assists) pass, with Kevin Huerter (11 points, two assists) called for goaltending. Young missed a 3-pointer, Doncic answered with a jumper and then Young had a turnover. Things continued to spiral after that, and similar to Friday’s loss in Toronto, the Hawks committed a few costly turnovers down the stretch (four in the fourth quarter, 12 overall). Atlanta was held to 18 points in the final period. Bullock tied a team-high with 22 points, scoring 10 of those in the fourth quarter, adding nine rebounds, two assists and two steals.
4. Dallas entered Sunday’s game No. 5 in the league in defensive rating (107.2), and played scrappy defense on Young, who joined the rest of the Hawks on their off-shooting night. Young finished with 17 points, though he went 0-for-6 from 3-point range and 6-for-19 from the field (5-5 FT). He added 11 assists for a double-double, and committed four turnovers.
“We weren’t shooting good and they went to a zone, and when you’re going against a zone you’ve got to really knock down some shots, and that’s why they go to it,” Young said. “For us, we’ve got to do better at knocking down shots. And we will. It’s just one of those nights. We’ll bounce back.”
5. John Collins was a bright spot in this game, finishing with a season-high 18 rebounds, to go with 22 points, one assist and one steal. Collins finished as a plus-1 in the loss.
Stat of the game: 16 (how many 3′s the Mavericks made, compared to the Hawks’ five)
Star of the game: Bullock (tied Brunson for a team-high 22 points, with 10 of that coming in the fourth quarter)
Quotable: “I thought they out-scrapped us the entire game. I thought they wanted it more. The urgency for the 48 minutes, they came with more urgency and played with more urgency.” (McMillan on Dallas controlling the game)