The Hawks extended their win-streak to six tonight after a solid 119-107 victory over the Rockets. Danilo Gallinari showed why he was paid $20 million/year, and Nathan Knight continued to become a fan-favorite in Atlanta.
Both teams came out fairly sloppy with the ball, as the Hawks gave up back-to-back dunks off poor passes. After five minutes, and the first break, the Hawks trailed 13-12.
Following a few poor possessions for Atlanta on the offensive end, a quick 7-0 run capped off by a John Collins slam gave them a 19-15 lead with 4:53 left in the first, which they ultimately stretched to 13 by the end of the quarter, thanks to a couple of threes from Gallinari.
The Hawks didn’t miss a beat to start off the second, going on a 9-2 run over the first two minutes. This included another three from Gallo, and a couple of tough finishes from Rondo and Bogdanovic.
All three of these offseason additions are primary reasons why the Hawks had such high expectations coming into the season, and are just starting to prove why they’re worth a combined $46 million/year.
The Hawks would force a Rockets timeout with 8:48 to go in the quarter following an emphatic dunk from Nathan Knight that extended the lead to 23. The undrafted rookie big-man is starting to make a name for himself in Atlanta, taking advantage of Capela and Okongwu’s absences.
Houston, however, would tighten things up, cutting the lead to 14 after an and-one from Victor Oladipo at the 7:15 mark. The Hawks would not allow the Rockets to reduce the lead any further, though, and held a 15-point lead at the half.
The story for Atlanta in the first two quarters was certainly the offense, and without Clint Capela in the lineup, that could be expected. While a defensive force to be sure, not having Capela unlocks another level of spacing for the team to operate with on offense, which they certainly enjoyed. The other end, however, can suffer, and Houston took advantage of their opportunities in the paint.
Gallinari led all scorers after two quarters with 20, shooting 7/8 from the field and hitting three three-pointers. Trae Young had a first half double-double, recording exactly 10 points and 10 assists. Three other Hawks scored double figures, including Nathan Knight, who was 4/4 from the field at the break.
The Rockets came out of the half firing on all cylinders, forcing a quick timeout from the Hawks at the 9:18 mark with the score 76-66. Dating back to the second quarter, a dunk from Kevin Porter Jr. made it a 21-6 run for Houston.
Tony Snell helped end the run, however, nailing a deep(ish) three out of the timeout, which was quickly followed up by a Gallo three on the next possession.
The Rockets just would not go away, though, scoring five points of their own. Collins picked up his fourth foul at the 7:30 mark, allowing Nathan Knight an extended run early in the half.
After some poor offense from the Hawks, a phenomenal step back from Oladipo cut the lead to seven. But, an immediate three from Knight stretched it back to double-digits. That was the last positive moment in the quarter for Atlanta. Houston ended the third with 34 points, outscoring the Hawks by 14 and cutting the lead to one.
The Hawks started the fourth out strong — a couple of layups from Knight and Bogdanovic put them up five. The Rockets would answer, however, and the next six minutes featured back-and-forth action, with both teams shooting poorly.
Thankfully, the Hawks were finally able to break out of their funk while the Rockets were not. Atlanta held an eight-point lead with 3:45 remaining despite Trae Young being held scoreless since halftime. A critical three from Tony Snell then extended the lead to 11 with just under 2:30 left, which all but iced the game.
The final dagger came with 42 seconds remaining, when Trae Young scored his first points of the half on a three. Despite a poor third quarter, the Hawks played a solid game overall, improving to .500 for the first time since February 1st. This also extends the win streak to six under McMillan.
Gallinari led the Hawks in scoring with 29, followed by Collins with 20 and Huerter with 16. Nathan Knight tallied a 15-point performance, including another highlight dunk.
The Hawks host the OKC Thunder Thursday night at 7:30 P.M. EST. They’ll be looking for revenge after the previous meeting between the two ended in an Atlanta loss.
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