The Atlanta Hawks improved to 21-20 tonight in a 116-93 blowout victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Atlanta is now 7-0 under Nate McMillan since he took over as head coach, thanks to much better team defense and fourth-quarter play.
Clint Capela opened up the scoring for Atlanta with a dunk on a nice dish from Tony Snell following a steal from Kevin Huerter, but it would be the Trae Young show early and often. He scored seven points in the first five minutes, and it didn’t take long for the Hawks to stretch their lead. With just over four minutes to play in the quarter, Atlanta was up by 17, thanks to an 18-2 run.
Young exited with 11 points and six assists, and the second unit of Rondo, Gallinari, Knight, Bogdanovic, and Hill successfully held off the Thunder, leading 31-21 after the first.
The bench stayed on the floor to begin the the second and picked up right where the first unit left off with an impressive finish from Knight, which was followed by a great hesitation-layup from Rondo, extending the lead to 14. Following a timeout, Young didn’t skip a beat after checking back in, scoring a quick six points for Atlanta within a minute.
The Hawks would ultimately lead 61-41 at the end of the half, dominating both ends of the court. Young had seven assists with 17 points at the break; John Collins scored 13 on 6/8 shooting, and Bogdanovic also had a nice half, chipping in 10 points.
To open up the third, Young came right out and scored on a layup — his point total was up to 23 a few possessions later, and at the 8:00 mark, the Hawks led 72-51. OKC would never cut it closer to 16 the rest of the way. While the Thunder certainly improved upon their first-half performance — specifically Gilgeous-Alexander — offensively, they simply could not slow down the Hawks’ offense.
After three quarters, the Hawks held a comfortable lead of 24. Bogdanovic ended the quarter with 21 points and was scoring every way possible — midrange, beyond the arc, and at the rim.
The Hawks started the final quarter fairly slow offensively, scoring just four points in the first three minutes. But, as was the case all night, the Thunder matched that total with just four of their own. The Hawks ended up emptying the bench completely with about three minutes left to go, leading by 24.
Trae Young finished with 23 points and fell one assist shy of a double-double. The all-star guard played just 25 minutes in the blowout and will head into the looming eight-game road trip red hot. Aside from Young, Collins exited with 19 points and 3(!) blocks on the night. But the real story for the Hawks was the breakout performance from Bogdan Bogdanovic, who tied Young for the game’s lead in scoring with 23, thanks to five made threes.