Hawks blown out again by Grizzlies

Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins (20) looks to shoot against Memphis Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas (17) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, March 7, 2020, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
Caption
Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins (20) looks to shoot against Memphis Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas (17) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, March 7, 2020, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

Credit: Brandon Dill

Credit: Brandon Dill

With a 118-101 loss Saturday at FedExForum, the Hawks have been blown out twice by the Grizzlies in six days.

Below are some takeaways from the loss:

1. After missing Friday’s loss to the Wizards with flu-like symptoms, Trae Young was back in the starting lineup, but he struggled to get much going. Young didn’t make a 3-pointer until the end of the third quarter, and went 4-for-16 from the field (1-for-10 from 3-point range), adding 16 points (going 7-for-9 from the line), four assists, five rebounds and five turnovers. Outside of John Collins, who led the Hawks with 27 points, going 3-for-5 from 3, the Hawks as a whole struggled to shoot it. “We struggle with, when our shots aren’t falling, how are we staying in games?” Young said. “... We’ve got to figure out ways to fight whenever we’re not shooting the ball well, and it starts with me. Whenever I’m not shooting the ball well I’ve got to figure out other ways to impact. We’ve got to be better.”

2. This was an opportunity for the Hawks to avenge one of their worst losses of the season, a lackluster 39-point blowout the Grizzlies served them Monday at State Farm Arena. But from the start, they just didn’t have it in them. The Hawks shot 22.7% from the field in the first quarter, combining for just five field goals, and trailed 38-18 going into the second. That slow start set them up to fail, and they trailed by 21 at halftime. Overall, they shot 33.7% from the field and 26.5% from 3 — some of that is the Grizzlies’ defense, but the Hawks got plenty of open looks and just misfired. “You watch the first half, and we were missing some wide open shots,” Young said. “Shots just weren’t going, and that happens on a back-to-back and it’s tough. It’s tough. ... But we were missing wide-open shots, shots that we usually hit.”

3. After starting the third quarter off with an energetic 7-0 run, the Hawks were more competitive for the rest of the game. They actually outscored the Grizzlies in the second half, 56-52, but couldn’t get within striking distance after trailing by as much as 26 in the first half. A 3-pointer by Treveon Graham made it a 14-point game with 6:19 to play, and a 3 by Vince Carter did the same with 3:44 left, but that was the most the Hawks could whittle away at the deficit. “I thought our guys brought out a fight in the second half after really just getting frustrated early in the first quarter,” Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce said. “It’s tough. ... The ball’s not falling. Some of it was their effort, and a lot of it we missed a lot of open shots, and we just couldn’t get in rhythm. I thought our guys came out and competed in the second half, especially to start the third quarter.”

4. Jonas Valanciunas dominating the Hawks is a prime example of how they’re missing Clint Capela, who is still rehabbing from a right heel injury. They didn’t have an answer for the big center, who bullied them with 27 points and 17 rebounds (seven offensive, 10 defensive), adding three blocked shots. “He’s a load,” Pierce said. “It’s tough. You’re trying to crowd the paint. When they miss, you feel like you’re always in a bad spot. Just a big body. I thought our guys did a better job of just putting a body on him and he still was effective.” Rookie of the year candidate Ja Morant added 24 points and six assists, and Josh Jackson had 17 points.

5. Cam Reddish exited the game with 8:20 to go in the second quarter, was diagnosed with lower limb cramping and did not return to the game. It wasn’t an injury, but just cramping, per Pierce. Before exiting, he had nine points and three assists in about 12 minutes. Reddish has struggled to stay healthy as of late, missing four games in early February with a concussion and missing Monday’s loss with low back pain.

By the numbers 

49.4% (what the Grizzlies shot from the field)

Quotable 

“Big fella down low is a beast. ... I don’t even have to look at the stat sheet to know that he got a lot of rebounds.” (Trae Young on Jonas Valanciunas)