Trae Young plays through ankle sprain, leads Hawks to win vs. Bulls

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) puts up a shot against the Chicago Bulls' Ayo Dosunmu (12) Thursday, March 3, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Credit: AP

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Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) puts up a shot against the Chicago Bulls' Ayo Dosunmu (12) Thursday, March 3, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Credit: AP

Executing well down the stretch, the Hawks (30-32) pulled off a much-needed, energizing win vs. the Bulls, 130-124, Thursday at State Farm Arena.

Next up, the Hawks play in Washington Friday on the second half of their back-to-back.

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Below are some takeaways from the win:

1. Despite spraining his left ankle in Tuesday’s loss to the Celtics, Trae Young was available to play in Thursday’s game, fortunately for the Hawks. The ankle injury didn’t slow Young down, even though Hawks coach Nate McMillan mentioned Young was still experiencing some swelling – he had a huge game with 39 points and 13 assists, with 16 points and three assists in the fourth quarter alone. Young also avenged one of his worst shooting performances of the season when he went 3-for-17 from the field in the Hawks’ loss to the Bulls in Chicago a week ago.

Young has now tied Allen Iverson for the eighth-most 30-plus point, 10-plus assist performances with 47. The Hawks caught quite a break that Young’s injury wasn’t more serious, since he’s so vital to their success.

“It was numb for a little bit,” Young said of his ankle. “I put a lot of tape on it today so I really couldn’t feel it turn. Really that’s when I had the most pain was when I turned it, not necessarily when I go forward and back, it’s when I turn. Just put some tape under the ankle braces and felt kind of numb, but it was alright.”

2. Trailing the Bulls by seven at halftime, the Hawks started the third quarter so hot that they jumped out front, 86-76, at the 3:58 mark. But the Bulls went on a 16-4 run over the last 3:40, so the Hawks trailed by two entering the fourth. They battled well in the final period, led by Young and Bogdan Bogdanovic, taking a 122-118 lead off two clutch 3-pointers from Bogdanovic (13 of his 20 points came in the fourth) and Young, with DeMar DeRozan (22 points, seven rebounds, eight assists, two steals, four turnovers, six fouls) called for traveling in between the two. Eight of the Hawks’ 18 3′s came in the fourth quarter, with Young going 4-for-4 from beyond the arc and Bogdanovic going 3-for-4 in the final period.

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Atlanta Hawks fans react after a Hawks basket in the final moments of the second half in their win over the Chicago Bulls in an NBA basketball game Thursday, March 3, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Credit: AP

Atlanta Hawks fans react after a Hawks basket in the final moments of the second half in their win over the Chicago Bulls in an NBA basketball game Thursday, March 3, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Credit: AP

Combined ShapeCaption
Atlanta Hawks fans react after a Hawks basket in the final moments of the second half in their win over the Chicago Bulls in an NBA basketball game Thursday, March 3, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

3. This was one of the best wins of the season for the Hawks, and was much-needed, especially considering that recent loss in Chicago, twice letting DeRozan break free for late jump shots which ended up making the difference for the Bulls. This time, the Hawks got stops and scored 40 points in the fourth quarter to seal the win. The Hawks (No. 10 in the East) knock off the No. 3 team in the East, avoid suffering a season sweep to Chicago and also move to 1 1/2 games ahead of the Wizards (No. 11) entering Thursday’s game in Washington.

It’s also big considering they’re shorthanded at a less-than-ideal time in the season, missing John Collins (right foot strain) and Onyeka Okongwu (NBA concussion protocol), with the Hawks starting Danilo Gallinari and utilized Gorgui Dieng in the rotation.

“We’ve been talking about finishing,” McMillan said. “The last game that we played them in Chicago, we didn’t finish. I thought we were in a similar situation going into the fourth quarter; you had the lead and we didn’t make shots under a minute. We didn’t get stops. Tonight, we did. We did the things that you need to do as far as winning a game and made big shots, hit our free throws and we got stops when it counted, in the last five minutes.”

4. Six Hawks players finished in double-digit scoring: Young (39), Bogdanovic (20), De’Andre Hunter (18), Kevin Huerter (17), Clint Capela (12) and Gallinari (11).

5. Hunter, who has been struggling shooting (4-for-23 from the field the past three games), rebounded with a nice performance, adding three rebounds to his 18 points, going 7-for-13 from the field and 2-for-4 from 3-point range. Hunter missed two free throws with the game tied 116-116 with 2:27 left, but overall looked much more in-rhythm shooting from the floor, a good sign for the Hawks with just 20 games left in the regular season. Hunter also played well defensively, helping limit DeRozan.

“We knew that DeRozan was going to have the ball in his hands in the fourth quarter,” McMillan said. “I thought our guys Bogi and Dre did a real solid job of keeping him in front, staying attached to him, and our bigs did a good job of being up on the screens and helping those guys through.”

Hawks 130, Bulls 124

Stat of the game: 16 (how many of Young’s 39 points came in the fourth quarter)

Star of the game: Young (led the Hawks to victory with a dominant performance in the fourth)

Quotable: “When you’re trying to win, the confidence comes from the defense. That’s what everything comes from.” (Bogdanovic on what helped him and Young get going in the fourth quarter)