The Hawks entered Tuesday night’s showdown with the lowly Warriors on a ten-game losing streak. Last year’s Western Conference champions provided the first opponent they were favored against in close to a month, and after being blown out by the Rockets on Saturday, the Hawks came out with a little chip on their shoulder, looking for their first win since November 5th.
It wasn’t exactly pretty by either side, Atlanta led 49-40 at the half and then blew the doors open in the third quarter, outscoring the Warriors by 14. Golden State, a team that was not too long ago the most fluid offense in basketball, only scored more than 25 points once in a quarter (26 in the 1st) against the Hawks notably horrid defense – a testament to just how far they have fallen this season.
The Warriors lost Kevin Durant in free agency. Klay Thompson is still recovering from a torn ACL he suffered in the NBA finals. Steph Curry broke his wrist and won’t be able to return until after the All-Star break. Draymond Green has been dealing with nagging injuries all season. And even D’Angelo Russell sat this one out. Golden State is now 4-19 – the worst record in the NBA. However, that could turn out to be a blessing in disguise, considering they will likely land a top-five pick to pair with their already stellar core when they are healthy again next year.
Unsurprisingly, Trae Young led the way for Atlanta, scoring 24 points on 10-19 shooting to go along with his six assists. Damian Jones also pitched in 16 points, and De’Andre Hunter was the Hawks second-leading scorer with 18 points on 6-14 shooting before exiting the game with a dislocated right index finger. Thankfully, X-Rays were negative, and there was no structural damage.
X Rays were negative and there was not a fracture. https://t.co/5aIJ25PAYB
— Chris Kirschner (@ChrisKirschner) December 3, 2019
That should mean a pretty quick recovery for the Hawks budding rookie. Although we will see how cautiously the team decides to be with him. They aren’t exactly at full-strength already, as John Collins is in the middle of a 25-game suspension for PEDs, and Kevin Huerter is still recovering from a shoulder injury. It shouldn’t be too long until both of those guys are back on the floor, but until then, the Hawks desperately need Hunter at full strength.
After Trae Young and Jabari Parker, Hunter has turned into the third go-to option on the team. He’s not exactly lighting the world on fire yet, but he has shown a ton of progress since the beginning of the season, turning into a reliable 3-and-D player that can put the ball on the floor at times and attack the basket. With several injuries and a John Collins’ suspension, this is nowhere near how the Hawks envisioned their season beginning, but it has given rookies like Hunter a chance to develop a permanent role for themselves, which will pay dividends once reinforcements arrive.
We will keep you posted on any updates regarding De’Andre Hunter’s injury. The Hawks stay at home to play the Nets on Thursday night before hitting the road for three games, beginning in Charlotte.