Atlanta Hawks forward De'Andre Hunter (12) works his way past Miami Heat forward Duncan Robinson (55) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Photo: John Bazemore/AP
Photo: John Bazemore/AP

Without Trae Young, Hawks suffer third consecutive loss

With Trae Young out with a sprained ankle, the Hawks suffered a 106-97 loss to the Miami Heat Thursday at State Farm Arena and fell to 2-3 on the season.

Below are some takeaways from the loss:

1. With Young sidelined after spraining his right ankle in Tuesday’s loss, rookie Cam Reddish started at point guard and finished with 9 points, 4 assists and 6 rebounds in 28 minutes (going 2 for 11 from the field, shooting 4 for 4 from the line). Reddish’s shot selection wasn’t great and he pulled up with plenty of time left on the shot clock a few times, but he continued his solid defensive efforts and also recorded his first career 3-pointer. He had a heads-up play in the first quarter, when he blocked a shot and quickly found DeAndre’ Bembry open down the court for the assist, and Bembry finished with a slam. Reddish said he grew more comfortable throughout the game, and he needed to slow the pace down moving forward. “I’ve just got to slow down and let the game come to me,” Reddish said. “Just play my game and I’ll be perfectly fine. I’m starting to see it a little bit more. It’s coming. I’m looking forward to that moment.” Bembry, Kevin Huerter and Tyrone Wallace also helped handle the ball, in Young’s absence. 

2. In Bembry and Jabari Parker, the Hawks got big-time contributions from their bench. Bembry had a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds, with 8 assists, and Parker led the team in scoring with 23 points (to go with 8 rebounds). Coach Lloyd Pierce: “We had 60 points off the bench tonight, which is everything that we needed. Our starters struggled a little bit.” Starters Kevin Huerter (7 points), Alex Len (5 points), rookie De’Andre Hunter (4 points) and Reddish (9 points) combined to go 8 for 34 from the field (23.5%). Bembry and Parker, along with Wallace (who finished with 12 points) helped the Hawks climb out of an 18-point deficit midway through the third quarter, and Parker’s dunk with 9:45 left in the fourth whittled the deficit down to four points, before the Hawks fell behind down the stretch.

3. The Hawks missed both Young’s scoring and facilitating. Without him, they were held to a season-low 20 assists and  a season-low 26% 3-point shooting (7 of 34). In four games, Young was averaging 26.8 points and 7.3 assists, shooting 50% from 3, or making 3.5 of 7 attempts per game, and that’s counting his appearance in the loss to Miami Tuesday, when he exited in the second quarter.

4. There were a few defensive breakdowns that gifted the Heat points, including more open 3’s than usual (Miami made 14 of 37 3-point shots, or 37.8%). A lot of it, Pierce said, came from miscommunications. Pierce on the breakdowns: “We just didn’t communicate well. We weren’t on the same page. We were really trying to focus on keeping the game in front of us and they were just able to get behind.”

5. After three losses in a row, with Young out injured, the Hawks could use a break to regroup. Fortunately, that’s exactly what their schedule lends them. They don’t play again until Nov. 5, when they host the Spurs, so the team gets a little time to collect itself, and Young gets some time to heal. Parker on getting a breather: “It can help us regroup. Get down and really learn from the mistakes and really get adjusted to each other. It’s real good that we have these couple of days off.”

By the numbers 

40.9 (the Hawks’ field-goal percentage, their lowest of the season so far)

Quotable 

“It’s always helpful for any team if the bench can come in and bring some type of energy, whether it’s points or defensively getting stops. I think that’s what we did tonight.” (DeAndre’ Bembry on the Hawks’ bench contributing)

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