SAN ANTONIO -- The Hawks fought all the way until the end to down the Spurs 137-135 on Thursday at the AT&T Center.

Here are five observations:

1. The Hawks had to dig themselves out of a hole for much of the game after falling into a 15-point deficit early. They eventually saw the surface in the fourth quarter after De’Andre Hunter knocked down a 3 that tied the game at 117 with 6:33 remaining.

Hunter fouled out exactly three minutes later but his jumper lit enough of a spark that helped power the Hawks down the stretch.

Hawks guard Dejounte Murray made back-to-back layups, Trae Young hit a pair of free throws and then found Clint Capela for a dunk.

But the Hawks had trouble stopping the Spurs from outside and guards Jeremy Sochan and Devin Vassell helped San Antonio keep the game within one point. Then with 6.1 seconds to go, Keldon Johnson scored a putback layup to pull the Spurs within 137-135.

After Sochan picked off an inbound pass out of the timeout, Young got into position and drew a charge to seal the Hawks’ win.

2. Young came alive in the second half, particularly the third quarter, and gave the Hawks a big offensive spark. He scored 20 of his season-high 45 points in the period, knocking down 8-of-11 overall shots and 2-of-3 from 3.

The Hawks guard’s strong third quarter complemented a strong defensive night that including the game-deciding charge. It was second time in the game that Young stood in for a charge. The first led to a go-ahead layup from Murray with 6:10 left.

“I knew he was trying to get to the basket and make a transition play,” Young said. “I was the only one back and I knew I was either going to foul him or try to take the charge. So I just slid over and tried to take a charge.”

The Hawks had several players make plays to pull off the win, including Capela, who drew a charge off Zach Collins that stopped the Spurs from tying the game with 5:46 to play.

3. To match the size and length of the Spurs’ Victor Wembanyama, the Hawks subbed in Capela alongside Onyeka Okongwu, as the power forward to start the second quarter.

It’s not the first time this season they’ve tried a lineup with their two centers. On Oct. 29 against the Bucks, they paired Okongwu and Capela together against combinations of Giannis Antetokounmpo and either Brook Lopez or Bobby Portis.

But like that game, the Hawks did not use the pairing for long. Unlike that game against the Bucks, the Hawks did not have Jalen Johnson, who is out with an injury. Both Capela and Okongwu picked up their third fouls and the Hawks had to pivot to keep their big men out of further trouble.

4. The officials’ whistles proved to be a thorn in the Hawks’ side all night long and it hampered the rhythm early. Coming into the night, the Hawks committed the fifth-fewest fouls on average, 18.1 per game.

But the Hawks had a season-tying 25 fouls against the Spurs as they tried to combat the length of No. 1 overall pick Wembanyama, as well as the size among the rest of the San Antonio lineup.

Capela picked up his first foul just over a minute into the game trying to stop a Wembanyama drive. The Hawks lost Hunter in the final four minutes of the game after he fouled out.

“When you’re going against tough whistles I think you just have to stick together, fight through it if they’re attacking the basket and getting calls,” Murray said. “You have to attack the basket and put the pressure on the refs to make the same calls.”

5. The Spurs attacked, going 24-of-40 on their shots in the paint and drawing 23 opportunities to go to the free-throw line.

Sochan, who scored a combined 11 points in his last two games, made life tough for the Hawks, especially in minutes where Wembanyama went to the bench. Sochan scored a career-high 33 points on Thursday, going 6-of-6 on his trips to the free-throw line.

Stat to know

4 -- Trae Young has the league’s last four games where a player scored at least 45 points and handed out at least 14 assists.


“Let’s go ahead and change the narrative right now: Trae Young taking a charge at the end of the game is a big-time play.” -- Hawks coach Quin Snyder on his star player’s defense.

Up next

The Hawks conclude the five-game, eight-day road trip on Saturday when they face the Bucks in Milwaukee.