The Hawks have won seven straight games for the first time since 2016-2017. They’re currently the 5th seed in the Eastern Conference, one game out of the 4th seed, and three and a half games ahead of the Raptors at the 11th seed. The win streak can mostly be attributed to Nate McMillan, he’s done a good job of keeping his record perfect since he became the interim head coach on March 1.
The team’s defense and fourth-quarter play can be directly attributed to the coaching change. But just as Danilo Gallinari has been a significant factor in the recent win-streak, Bogdan Bogdanović can take the Hawks to an even higher level — a fourth seed. Chase explained just how Gallo’s recent hot-streak shooting only followed some shooting woes at the beginning of the year.
“Gallinari began his Hawks career injured. He played in just two of the first four games before missing nearly a month with an ankle injury, and when he did return, he looked like a shell of himself. In his first 17 games back, Gallo shot an abysmal 34.3% from the field while averaging just over 10 points and 2 rebounds per game… However, that all changed on a magical night against Boston.”
“The 6’10” Italian couldn’t miss, setting a franchise record for threes in a game, canning 10 of them in just 12 attempts, and ending the game with 38 points… Over Atlanta’s last five games (all wins), Gallo has managed to shoot 53.8% from the floor and over 50% from behind the arc, averaging 21.4 points per game and 6.4 rebounds.”
Just as Gallo couldn’t miss against Boston, Bogi couldn’t miss last night against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Coming off the bench, he shot 9-for-14 from the floor and made five 3-pointers in the victory. Scoring a season-high 23 points, it was only his second double-digit game since returning on March 2nd from an avulsion fracture in his right knee that cost him 25 games. He added six rebounds and three assists.
In the span that Bogi missed — January 11th through February 28th — the Hawks went 10-15. Since he’s returned, Atlanta hasn’t lost. Obviously, this isn’t all because of Bogdanović, but he has steadily improved his shooting since coming back. When playing 20 or more minutes in the seven games since returning, he’s shooting 51.4% from the field and 30% from beyond the arc — though he was 5-for-9 in last night’s win.
Bogi hasn’t quite found his groove consistently, but just as Gallo had to shoot out of his slump; the Serbian will need to continue to have more nights like these with the second unit. His only other game that made the four-year, $72 million worth it was the loss against Brooklyn at the beginning of the season. Bogi shot 7-of-14 from the field and 6-of-11 from deep, adding four rebounds. Expect more of these 20-point games from him, Gallo, and De’Andre Hunter when he returns. Travis Schlenk knew exactly what he was doing putting this roster together, having four of five guys that can explode at any point.
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