With a strong showing in the fourth quarter, the Hawks (9-32) broke a four-game losing streak with a 123-110 win vs. the Suns (16-24) Tuesday at State Farm Arena.
Below are some takeaways from the win:
1. It took Trae Young a little while to get going, but once he did, there was no stopping him. Young scored 21 of his 36 points in the fourth quarter alone, helping the Hawks hold off the Suns. Young, who sat out the Hawks’ blowout loss Sunday in Brooklyn with left hamstring pain, finished with a double-double of 36 points and 10 assists but had 13 and four in the first half. In the fourth quarter, Young hit back-to-back 3’s to reclaim the lead, 95-92, following it up with a reverse layup at the 8:44 mark -- the Hawks have lost many a lead in the fourth this season, but they never trailed after that turning point. Young has 20 games with 30-plus points, which is third in the league behind Houston’s James Harden (27) and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetoukounmpo (21). “I thought we really slowed the game down,” Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce said of the fourth quarter. “Trae obviously gets hot, but to really get organized, slow the game down, makes a lot of end-of-shot-clock plays, but you have to have a closer in this league. You have to be able to execute in the fourth quarter in this league and I thought our guys did a really good job of that tonight.”
2. This was likely the most complete game of Kevin Huerter’s young career. With 23 points and a career-high 15 rebounds, Huerter posted his second career double-double and the first of this season, narrowly missing out on a triple-double (he had a career-high eight assists, as well). Huerter had a key play in the third quarter when a 3-pointer by Devin Booker tied the game 78-78, but the Hawks were able to maintain one-point lead going into the fourth after Huerter and John Collins connected on an alley-oop (Booker had a game-high 39 points but was ejected late in the fourth after getting a technical foul for taunting). “He’s been playing out of his mind,” Young said of Huerter. “He’s playing like I know he can. He works extremely hard. He’s a super smart player and super cerebral player. We need him to play with a lot of confidence and he’s been doing that lately.”
3. Collins, who started at center, is now on a five-game streak of registering multiple blocks, with three in Tuesday’s win and 15 dating back to the loss in Denver Jan. 6. Overall, he’s got 33 blocks in 15 games this season, which is an uptick from last season when he averaged 0.6 blocks per game. With 22 points and 10 rebounds, the third-year player posted his sixth double-double of the season.
4. The Hawks are a different team when the trio of Young, Collins and Huerter is healthy and thriving together on the court (before Tuesday’s win, they had only played 123 minutes together, due to injuries to Young and Huerter and Collins’ suspension). Add in that Cam Reddish and De’Andre Hunter played good defense (with Hunter adding 15 points) and it was a solid showing from the Hawks’ young core. “I thought John set the table for us early. ... To see Kevin shoot the ball the way he shot it tonight, to see him rebound, to see De’Andre make plays, to see Cam defend and then Trae close it out is kind of how it’s been designed,” Pierce said. “We’re trying to get these guys to all jell together and tonight was an example of that.”
5. The Hawks haven’t been a good rebounding team all season, but won the battle of the boards Tuesday, 46-40. Their 10 offensive rebounds (12 total) in the first half tied their most in a half this season, and helped lead to 21 second-chance points.
By the Numbers
39 (what the Hawks scored in the fourth quarter, thanks to an onslaught of points by Young)
“Always good to come together and get a nice team win, have some of our young core pieces get going like we did tonight, see everybody flowing, get everybody in the flow of the offense.” (John Collins on what went right for the Hawks)
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