The Hawks had the chance to hand the Warriors their tenth straight loss on the road. They finished strong to down the visitors 127-119 on Friday night at State Farm Arena.
Here are five observations:
1. The Hawks’ offense dried up a little in the fourth quarter with the team going 6-of-25. It allowed the Warriors to pull within 120-119 with just over one minute remaining in the game.
But the Hawks made the stops they needed to, including a Trae Young steal, and boxed out to keep the Warriors off the glass and the ball in their hands. Part of that included two big rebounds from John Collins, who crashed the boards after a missed 3-pointer from Klay Thompson.
It’s a turnaround for the Hawks, who fell to the Warriors in January after giving up several offensive rebounds at the buzzer.
“I thought we did a good job executing down the stretch, really on both ends of the floor,” Hawks coach Quin Snyder said. “A couple plays on the offensive end. And I thought we just executed and put ourselves in a position to get fouled and make a shot. But regardless of what happened we defended in the last few minutes, and JC was terrific on the glass, a couple of big big rebounds that he had. And that was really the game for us.”
With less than a minute to play in the game, Young, who had 25 points and 12 assists, poked the ball away from Stephen Curry and scored a layup in transition after Dejounte Murray pushed the ball ahead. That gave the Hawks a 125-119 lead.
2. Early in the game, the Hawks needed a burst to get going offensively. Collins gave them that by scoring 17 points of his 22 points in the first quarter with the Warriors trying to cut off the Hawks’ first options.
Collins shot the ball confidently after working with Hawks assistant general manager Kyle Korver, over the last couple of days of practice. He tied his season high in a game with four three pointers, which he set just nine days ago.
“I call him the ‘zen master’ for a reason,” Collins said. “I just enjoy working with him. Really, just talking about my hand placement on the ball, a lot of mental tips and just things that I can go to mentally to lock in when I’m ready to shoot and I feel like it’s paying off.”
The Hawks’ forward has had an off-year shooting wise and has been trying to get back into a rhythm from outside.
3. The Hawks had done a strong job of keeping the Warriors off the 3-point line for much of the night. They held them to 9-of-30 shooting from distance up until 7:58 in the fourth quarter.
Then Curry banked in a 3 from the corner, then knocked down another from the opposite side just over one minute later.
The Warriors, of course have the second-best offense in the league, averaging 118.3 points per game. They’re the third-most efficient team from distance with Curry, Thompson, Jordan Poole and other players’ ability to hit shots from outside.
Coming into the night, the Warriors shot 38.5% but the Hawks held them to 27.5% shooting from 3 on 40 attempts. The Hawks held the Warriors’ top shooters in Curry, Thompson and Poole to a combined 8-of-28 from deep.
Curry still finished with 31 points.
4. The Hawks had another huge night from Onyeka Okongwu, who gave the team 19 points and seven rebounds. Okongwu has given the Hawks a huge defensive presence this season as he as helped to seal off the paint as the Hawks held the Warriors to 48% shooting.
He and Clint Capela had several key blocks to cut off options at the rim.
“I’m a shot blocker, it’s natural,” Okongwu said. “That’s what I do. So, it just comes to me naturally.”
5. With Jalen Johnson out of the rotation with left hamstring tightness, minutes opened up for rookie AJ Griffin. The 19-year-old made two of his three attempts from deep, the first time he has made multiple 3s in a game since Jan. 30.
Hawks 127, Warriors 119
Stat to know
100 -- Dejounte Murray nabbed his 100th steal of the season. He has swiped 100-plus steals in each of his last four seasons, the only player in the NBA to have 100+ steals in each season since the 2019-20 campaign.
“They were just trying to get to switch and (it’s) just the name of the game. So you just tried to get the switch and they were trying to search me out and I saw Steph, what he was trying to do, and I mean that’s what I would do. I’d try and get a switch and spin and just try to get the mismatch.” - - Hawks guard Trae Young on his clutch steal.
The Hawks head west to face the Spurs in San Antonio Sunday.
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