Trae Young drops 42 as Hawks down Bucks, snapping losing skid

Atlanta Hawks' Trae Young (11) dribbles during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Hakim Wright Sr.)
Atlanta Hawks' Trae Young (11) dribbles during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Hakim Wright Sr.)

Credit: Hakim Wright Sr.

Credit: Hakim Wright Sr.

Returning home after nine days on the road, the Hawks put a complete game together to beat the Bucks, 120-100, Sunday at State Farm Arena.

Next up, on the second half of a back-to-back, the Hawks will host the Magic Monday.

ExploreHawks’ Hunter to miss approximately 8 weeks after wrist surgery

Below are some takeaways from the win:

1. Trae Young was on fire from the start, and ended up tying a career-high with eight made 3′s, finishing just shy of a triple-double with a season-high 42 points, to go with 10 assists and eight rebounds. He went 4-for-4 from 3-point range in his first four minutes of play, setting the tone, and didn’t let up throughout the game. Coach Nate McMillan liked the way Young kept up the tempo for the Hawks, with the team hoping to pick up its pace of play this season.

“It was good to see that ball go in for us, and he came out very aggressive,” McMillan said. “He felt a rhythm, and just stayed with it. I thought he established a tempo on both ends of the floor, pushing the ball offensively. On the defensive rebounds, we were able to get out and get into transition, and he got the break going. So I love the pace we played with tonight.”

2. On a six-game losing streak and after going 0-4 on a brutal road trip out west, the Hawks looked delighted to be back in their own arena and finally put a complete game together, something they’ve been struggling to do this season. In a rematch of the Eastern Conference finals from this summer, which Milwaukee won in six games, the Hawks shot 48.5% from the field (47-97) and 42.9% from 3-point range (15-35), bolstered by Young’s success, and dominated on the boards, 63-41. They got another great game from John Collins (19 points, six rebounds) and good bench performances from Danilo Gallinari (10 points, plus-13) and Lou Williams (nine points, two assists, plus-four).

3. Playing through an Achilles injury, center Clint Capela hasn’t looked like himself to start the season — on defense, he hasn’t anchored the Hawks like he did last season, and on offense, he has looked slower and entered Sunday’s game shooting his lowest percentage from the field since his rookie season (52.8%). But he’s had more pep in his step the past two games, finishing with a double-double of 12 points (6-10 FG) and 13 rebounds plus two assists and two steals against the Bucks. Capela said he’s been feeling a little better, which helps him in rebounding and navigating pick-and-roll. He and Collins combined to help limit the Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo, who finished with 26 points, six assists and five rebounds, with three turnovers.

“It’s been better, honestly,” Capela said of his Achilles. “Hopefully it can stay that way and even be better. … It’s just better in everything.”

4. For the most part, McMillan didn’t play a full bench unit together in this game, staggering starters with bench players to help keep things going (the Hawks’ all-bench units have largely struggled so far this season, with the lineup of Lou Williams, Kevin Huerter, Cam Reddish, Danilo Gallinari and Gorgui Dieng having a net rating of -7.1, albeit in a small sample size of 20 minutes). For example, Young stayed on the floor to play with a bench lineup toward the end of the first quarter, and toward the end of the third, Young came out but Capela stayed on the floor with Delon Wright, Williams, Huerter and Gallinari. Then, McMillan went with Collins with that same unit, with Reddish instead of Huerter.

“I’ve been thinking about the rotation and what we did tonight was sub Trae early and get him out and get him back, and kind of mix in some of the starters with the second unit. … It seemed to work out,” McMillan said. “I liked the rhythm.

5. Midway through the second quarter, Reddish went back to the locker room after appearing to come down wrong on his right leg, and the Hawks listed him as questionable to return with a lower right leg contusion. He sat out the rest of the first half, but was able to come back in for the second half, finishing with four points, five rebounds and two assists. Also on the injury front, De’Andre Hunter missed the game with right wrist soreness, with Huerter (11 points, six rebounds, one assist, one steal) starting in his stead. The Bucks were shorthanded, missing Khris Middleton (COVID-19), Brook Lopez (back soreness), George Hill (back soreness) and Donte DiVincenzo (left ankle injury recovery).

Stat of the game: 8-for-13 (what Young shot from 3-point range, tying a career-high with eight made 3′s)

Star of the game: Young (had a season-high 42 points, plus 10 assists for a double-double, narrowly missing out on a triple-double with eight rebounds)

Quotable: “It felt good playing at home. It felt good playing in front of our fans. Haven’t done that for a while... We kind of felt the energy from the crowd.” (Young on the Hawks playing their first home game since Nov. 4, and getting the win)

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