Trae Young led the way with 42 points and 11 assists as the Hawks (4-6) beat the Nuggets 125-121 Tuesday night.
Below are some takeaways from the win:
1. This marked Young’s fifth 30-point game of the season (which is only 10 games old), and his third in a row. He finished with a season-high in points, leading the Hawks over Denver, which had won four games in a row entering Tuesday’s game. Young tied his career high with eight 3-pointers (making eight of 13) and was a big reason the Hawks shot by far their best clip of the season from behind the arc (44.1%). “It felt good,” Young said. “It felt better, even, because we won. I’m glad I was able to knock some shots down to help us win. Like I said before, I’m just trying to do whatever it takes, whether it’s scoring, whether it’s getting everybody involved, just trying to do whatever it takes to put my team in the best position to win.”
2. Early in the third quarter, Kevin Huerter exited the game with what the team said was left shoulder pain after being fouled by Nikola Jokic. The Nuggets player appeared to bump Huerter’s left arm and Huerter immediately went down in pain, holding his arm as he walked off the court to the locker room. He did not return to the game. The Hawks did not have any further update on Huerter’s injury after the game, but an update is likely coming Wednesday.
3. Before you could blink, the Hawks, who have struggled with slow starts, were down, 12-0. Huerter eventually got them on the board with a 3-pointer. But they more than made up for it with a monster second quarter and continued to shoot well throughout the game, finishing at a season-high 53%. Courtesy of 14 points by Young, the Hawks shooting 68.2% from the field, and a few stops on defense, the Hawks out-scored the Nuggets 38-20 in the second, and had a 63-54 lead at halftime. The Nuggets worked their way back to tie it at 101 with 8:19 to play, but the Hawks made enough plays down the stretch to stay out front. “We go down 12-0, but from there, I thought we outplayed them. ... I just thought our guys played well and played together and played hard,” Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce said.
4. With 2:55 to play in the second quarter, center Alex Len made a 3-pointer. And with that shot, Len already had a season-high of seven points. Len, who sprained his left ankle leading into training camp (and tweaked it again in practice Monday), has struggled on offense so far this season, though he’s been solid on defense. He ultimately finished with 17 points to go with seven rebounds, adding a 3-pointer. Pierce said he will keep bringing Len off the bench, since it worked so well.
5. The Hawks registered a season-high 30 assists (on 44 field goals). It wasn’t just Young contributing, which is a good sign, although he did lead the pack with 11. Rookie Cam Reddish added four, De’Andre Bembry added three, Jabari Parker had four and Huerter had three. They’re averaging 23.4 assists per game. “We had 30 assists on (44) made baskets, which is an impressive number for us,” Pierce said. “That’s been one of the areas we haven’t capitalized on this year.”
By the numbers
15 (the amount of 3’s the Hawks made in the win, compared to the Nuggets’ 11)
“He’s great in pick and roll and you have to scheme. We found something we were able to attack.” (Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce on Trae Young’s success in the win)
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