Hawks backcourt duo drops double-double in season opener

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The Atlanta Hawks began the 2022-23 season with a 117-107 victory over the lowly Rockets at State Farm Arena on Wednesday. John Collins paced the team in scoring with a very efficient 24, while De’Andre Hunter, fresh off a contract extension, added 22 points. However, what most people were interested in was how Trae Young and Dejounte Murray would look. And the backcourt duo didn’t disappoint, both dropping double-doubles.

Young (23 points, 13 assists) and Murray (20 points, 11 assists) combined for 43 points and 24 assists in their debut. The pair didn’t have the most efficient night shooting the ball, a combined 15-of-41. But the rest of the team was there to pick them up, primarily facilitated by one of the two ball handlers. Collins scored 24 points, and only one of his baskets was not assisted by Young or Murray.

Murray came as advertised. His midrange looked good, and he is one of the better initiators in the league. But his defensive prowess is what stood out. The former Spurs All-Star had a game-high five steals as the Hawks registered 12 steals on the game. To put that into perspective, Atlanta only eclipsed that total once last season when they had 13 steals against the Blazers. Those turnovers were generated directly into points as well.

Houston had 16 turnovers, which led to 28 points for Atlanta. They also played extremely fast, scoring another 28 points in fastbreak and transition situations. However, as good as the pair of Murray and Young were, there are still things that need to be cleaned up.

At some points, the rebounding was absolutely atrocious. The three-point shooting was non-existent, which isn’t too surprising. If there was one thing this team lacks, it’s shooters. Moreover, the defensive showing wasn’t as impressive as the boxscore might have you believe. Despite holding the Rockets to 42.9% shooting from the field, it felt like Houston just wasn’t hitting some of their shots. Granted, the Holiday brothers looked outstanding on defense, but there is still room for improvement.

It’s just one game against the terrible Rockets, but the Hawks looked damn good. Many fans were eager to see the backcourt duo of Murray and Young, and they didn’t disappoint.

Photographer: Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire

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