No matter your opinion on how the Hawks are approaching this season, they wanted to win last night’s game badly. Not only was this the second battle of two top-five picks that were traded for each other, but the Hawks own the rights to the Mavs first-round pick next year. They would have loved to help bump that pick back down into the lottery like they did last time these two faced in the Hawks home opener. However, this game took place in Dallas, where the Mavericks have the second-best home record in the NBA behind the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Hawks came out with a lot of energy behind John Collins, who finished with 17 rebounds on the night- nine of them on the offensive side. He would add 20 points to that for his fifth double-double in a row. Trae Young bounced back with his eighth double-double of the year, but first since November 27th, going for 24 points and 10 assists. A showing that is hopefully a sign of things to come after struggling over the last month.
It was not a two-man band, either. Atlanta got a fantastic performance out of Kent Bazemore. He probably wishes he could play the Mavericks every night. In the Hawks win over Dallas earlier this year, Baze led the team’s comeback with a 32-point effort. If he could have reached that number again on Wednesday, Atlanta probably would have come out on top. He finished with 22 points and 5 boards, but the most promising thing we saw last night came from Kevin Huerter.
Huerter put up a career-high 19 points as he continues to adjust to a starting role. He made four of his six three-pointers, pushing his percentage to above 40% on the year. If Huerter looks like a kid out there, it’s because he is, but he’s an absolute sniper with a ton of potential. The only thing I’d like to see is him shooting more often.
Even though the Hawks were able to score 80+ points between four starters, it wasn’t enough against Doncic and the Mavericks. The European maestro had 24 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists. Although, he did have 15 free-throw attempts, while the Hawks only had 14 as an entire team. Harrison Barnes led all scorers with 25 points, but where the Mavs won this one is with their bench. Dallas’s bench outscored Atlanta’s 45-13 in a 114-107 loss. There aren’t many teams in the NBA that can overcome that kind of deficiency, and the Hawks certainly aren’t one of them.
The loss wraps up the season series with the Mavericks at an even 1-1 split. It puts the Hawks at 6-21 on the season, good for the third worst record in the league (somehow still 2.5 games better than the Suns). It also moves them to 2-13 on the road. The Mavs, on the other hand, move to 15-11 on the year. They currently sit 7th in the West and are only 2.5 games out of first place. That’s how crazy the West has been so far.
Up next: the Hawks head to Boston to take on the Celtics this Friday at 7:00 PM ET.