Atlanta Hawks fail to close out against the streaking Brooklyn Nets losing 108-107

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The Atlanta Hawks (17-17) hosted the win-hungry Brooklyn Nets (22-12) Wednesday night. While the Nets were highly favored to win the game (74% Win Odds), the Hawks did not allow the Nets to roll past them. After a tough loss against the Indiana Pacers, 129-114, the Hawks were looking to redeem themselves by taking down the hot-handed Nets. The Hawks put up a strong fight against their opponent, yet it was not enough as the Nets won 108-107, increasing their current win streak to 10 games.

The Hawks were extremely short-handed entering this matchup as star point guard Trae Young was out with a contusion in his left calf. In addition, the Hawks were also missing Clint Capela (right calf strain), and De’Andre Hunter (left ankle sprain). The Nets on the other hand were only missing one of their key rotational pieces, Joe Harris, who has been out since the 21st with left knee soreness. 

From the opening tip, the Hawks made their presence known, battling back and forth with the Nets in what could be best described as a game of tug-of-war. Both teams shot efficiently in the first half, as the Hawks shot 52% from the field and 55% from deep, and the Nets shot 54% from the field and 50% from deep. The Hawks owned the first half, especially the second quarter, as they started the quarter with a 13-0 run to advance their lead to 45-33 over the Nets, maintaining this lead for 11 minutes and 28 seconds. The Hawks put up a collective scoring effort to create and maintain this lead, with three players taking the lead and the others following closely behind. John Collins and Jalen Johnson both had 12 points in the first half alongside Dejounte Murray who had 11 points. Other players like Onyeka Okongwu (9 points), Bogdan Bogdanovic (8 points), and Aaron Holiday (7 points) stepped up to assist in filling the void that the injuries left. As for the Nets, Kevin Durant led the team in scoring with 16 points, while Patty Mills (12 points), Kyrie Irving (8 points), Ben Simmons (8 points), and Nicolas Claxton (8 points) supported him. 

The Hawks allowed the Nets to fight their way back into the game early in the third quarter, as the Nets found themselves in a tie-ball game with roughly 5 minutes left in the third. Kevin Durant once again led his team, scoring the key baskets to not only diminish the Hawks’ lead but put his team past them ending the quarter with an 83-80 lead over the Hawks. Rather quickly into the fourth quarter, Kyrie Irving added some padding to the Nets’ lead, as he scored 8 points back to back to back to give the Nets a 93-82 lead. However, this only lasted for a few minutes, as Onyeka Okwongwu and Dejounte Murray answered right back to bring the Nets’ lead down to only 3 points. This battle continued into the game’s final moments, but the Hawks’ efforts came up short-sided as Dejounte Murray missed a crucial free throw that would have tied the game. Despite their extreme efforts, the Hawks fell short to the Nets 108-107.

Dejounte Murray ended the night just 3 stats shy of a triple-double, putting up 24 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists. While many Hawks players assisted the team greatly, John Collins followed closely behind Murray with 21 points and 8 rebounds, as well as Onyeka Okwongu with 18 points and 13 rebounds.

Kyrie Irving ended the night leading his team in scoring with 28 points, 8 assists, and 5 rebounds all key in cementing the win. Kevin Durant supported his other half with 26 points, 16 rebounds, and 8 assists, alongside Nicolas Claxton who put up 17 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 blocks. 

Post Game Interviews

Dejounte Murray

Onyeka Okongwu

Coach Nate McMillan

What’s Next?

The Atlanta Hawks (17-18) will host the Los Angeles Lakers (14-21) Friday evening who are coming off of a loss to the Miami Heat (18-17). The Lakers are missing Anthony Davis, a key piece to their offense that could pose a hindrance to their performance against the Hawks. The Lakers are currently averaging 115.6 points per game while allowing 117.6 points per game placing them 8th and 27th on the list of team averages across the league. The Hawks are still missing key pieces in their rotation, however, after their game against the Nets, it is clear that their team is much stronger than many may have pegged them to be. After dropping from the 6th seed to the 9th seed in the Eastern Conference, the Hawks need to bring their A-game Friday evening if they wish to avoid the play-in tournament and get back into the playoff picture.

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