Despite getting to the line and pulling the game within 118-112, the Hawks couldn’t keep the Thunder off the offensive boards down the stretch - despite outrebounding them for much of the night.
With 37.5 in the game, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander missed a three-point attempt from the corner but Chet Holmgren grabbed the offensive board and laid the ball in with his left hand and drew the foul - icing the game for the Thunder.
“The way we started down 19 and to come back and cut it to six,” Hawks coach Quin Snyder said. “With a stop, and I thought Holmgren’s offensive rebound, that possession was just a big play.”
2. The Hawks just could not find the bottom of the net as they put up one of their worst offensive nights of the season. The Hawks shot under 30% from the floor by the end of the first half despite getting plenty of wide open looks.
They missed 10 of their first 11 attempts of the game and did not make their second field goal of the game until 6:52 remained in the first quarter.
Their fortunes did not improve from there and they continued to have trouble from inside and beyond the arc despite Dejounte Murray, Saddiq Bey and Bogdan Bogdanovic hitting multiple shots from distance.
The Hawks ended up taking 42 3-point attempts and with how the Thunder collapses the paint, Snyder would have liked to see them take more tries from distance.
“The way this team defends when you don’t take your shot and you drive the ball, the whole paint just collapses,” Snyder said. “And so it becomes really hard to score in the paint with just bodies.”
3. Trae Young tried to attack the paint, as well as look for shots from midrange as he continues to fight through an early season shooting slump. Young shot 28.2% from 3 coming into Monday night and made just one shot from distance.
Young ended the night with 22 points, making five of his shots from the floor and one shot from 3 and a perfect night at the line. But he had seven turnovers after the Thunder executed the exact plan their coach outlined in his pregame availability.
Before the game, Thunder coach Mark Daigneault talked about his team’s plan to try and swarm Young. The Thunder did so, as well as picked him up higher to throw him off his dribble earlier.
4. The Thunder blew the game wide open in the third though and they carved the Hawks up inside and outside the arc. They shot 10-of-14 inside the arc and took advantage of getting out in transition after picking the Hawks off in close quarters.
Much of the Thunder’s 12 fast break points came after they forced the Hawks to dribble into traffic and pressured them into errant passes. Then they quickly found their shooters on the 3-point line when they got downhill.
The Hawks tried to keep the game within single digits but the Thunder found a groove, finding fourth-year guard Isaiah Joe open for three consecutive 3s.
“He hit a couple that were contested,” Snyder said. “When we started to hit (Gilgeous)-Alexander to get it out of his hands or to blitz him in pick and roll now you’re in rotations and you’re gonna give some up.”
5. For the second game in a row, the Hawks turned to Garrison Mathews early in the game to stretch the team’s rotation beyond the usual eight players. The Hawks usually tap AJ Griffin as their ninth man.
Stat to know
The Hawks beat the Thunder on the offensive boards 25-11.
“You always got to try to step your defense up and hope your defense can carry you throughout that time you’re not shooting good and we ended up picking up the shooting later in the game.”
-Young on how the Hawks tried to cut into the Thunder’s lead.
The Hawks wrap their road trip with a matchup against Orlando Thursday in Mexico City.