The Hawks rallied from a five-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat the Magic 103-99 Saturday at State Farm Arena and move to 2-0. Trae Young dominated with 39 points, 7 rebounds and 9 assists, and the Hawks did enough defensively to come away with a win.
Next up, the Hawks host the Sixers at 7:30 p.m. Monday.
Below are some takeaways from the win:
1. Young continues to dominate on offense, with 39 points in Saturday’s win to follow up the 38 points he had in the Hawks’ victory vs. Detroit Thursday. He’s filling out the stat sheet in other ways, too, and made a little history: Young is the first NBA player to have at least 38 points, 9 assists and 7 rebounds in each of his team’s first two games of the season. With the Hawks trailing 90-85 with 6:43 to play, Young scored 13 points down the stretch to help turn the tide, including an off-the-glass 3-pointer with 26 seconds left that put the game out of reach, 102-97. Coach Lloyd Pierce on Young’s performance: “Unbelievable. Special kid. He loves that moment, loves the end of the game, loves the end of the shot clock. It’s nice to have a guy that appreciates and likes the moment and wants it.”
2. In both their wins so far, the Hawks have held their opponent to 100 points or fewer, and that improved defensive effort has been key. Atlanta held Orlando to 35.4 percent from the floor (35 of 99) and 16.1 percent from 3-point range (5 of 31). It’s no secret defensive issues plagued the team last year, so that’s an encouraging sign early on. The Hawks did struggle with turnovers again, though, with 18 (12 of those came in the second half). Pierce on the Hawks’ defense through two games: “It’s the thing we’ve been knocked on and it’s the thing we have to take the most pride in.”
3. For quite some time, it has looked like the Magic have the Hawks’ number. The Hawks have struggled against Orlando, a team with tons of length, losing all four games to the Magic last season and losing again in their exhibition matchup Oct. 9. Not only hanging with, but beating a Southeast Division opponent could show the Hawks have made some progress from last season and stack up better in their division.
4. In his second game back from right knee issues, Kevin Huerter (or “Kevin Mutombo,” as Pierce called him postgame, referring to legendary shot blocker and former Hawk Dikembe Mutombo) looked much more comfortable and explosive, getting a key block on Nikola Vucevic with 48 seconds to play and the Hawks leading by two (he was operating on a 20-minute restriction but was in for the final minute of the game). Huerter finished with 10 points, 4 assists and 2 rebounds. With Young off the court in the second quarter, Huerter was the Hawks’ primary ball handler.
5. Rookie Bruno Fernando limped off the court toward the end of the third quarter and was helped to the locker room. Fernando was diagnosed with a right ankle sprain and did not return to the game, however, he was walking around in the locker room postgame with no help. Prior to his departure, Fernando had 4 points and 5 rebounds in eight minutes.
By the numbers
12 (the amount of rebounds John Collins pulled down, going up against a long Orlando team)
“It’s the same, mature win, but it’s a team win. It’s really the buy-in aspect of, we don’t need heroes, we need everybody to buy in and everybody to stay and impact the game when we’re on the floor, and we can finish with whoever’s appropriate for that game.” -- Coach Lloyd Pierce on the Hawks’ poise in the fourth quarter
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