The Hawks went to Miami looking for a four-game season sweep of the Heat, but they would have to do so without half of their dynamic duo, as John Collins missed his third consecutive game with an illness.
That left Trae Young responsible for picking up a heavy load once again if the Hawks wanted to come away with a win. However, the Heat had no interest in becoming the latest victim on Young’s highlight real, constantly trapping him at the top of the floor to force the ball out of his hands.
The planned work, and while Young put up notable stats for your typical rookie, they were ways off from what we have come to expect over the last two months. He would finish with 14 points and eights assists, but it was his eight turnovers that would come back to haunt the Hawks.
Given Young’s recent success and proven ability to pull from anywhere once he passes half court, this is something he is going to be seeing on a nightly basis. It’s vital that he and the Hawks develop a system that allows the team to create easy buckets when they decide to double-team Young, which should become effortless as Atlanta becomes more talented.
An Old School battle for the Ages
With John Collins out and Trae Young receiving the bulk of the attention, someone had to step up for the Hawks. That man was 42-year old Vince Carter. Carter came off the bench and gave the Hawks 26 outstanding minutes, hitting seven three-pointers – two shy of his career-high, finishing with 21 points and four rebounds.
Not to be outdone, Dwyane Wade was the spark for Miami, and again, made everyone question why exactly he is retiring. The 37-year old finished with 23 points and five assists in 31 minutes, doing his best work in the final period. His 14 fourth-quarter points were just enough to squeak out a 114-113 home-win.
Even in a Hawks loss, watching these two legends go back and forth in the final period ignited the nostalgia of several generations.
Far from the norm – the Hawks bench made a significant impact in this one, scoring 52 points. Outside of Vince Carter, De’Andre Bembry and Alex Poythress brought boatloads of energy to the floor. Jaylen Adams performed splendidly in his new backup point guard role, and B.J. Johnson proved he might be worth signing for the remainder of the season.
Kent Bazemore led the Hawks in scoring with 18 points to go along with seven rebounds and three assists. Kevin Huerter chipped in with 13, and Dewayne Dedmon added 14. Huerter’s 13 points also came with a jersey swap at the end from Dwyane Wade.
Huerter was shocked at the move, as Wade specifically pointed him out right after the final buzzer sounded. Wade had this to say on why he wanted to swap jerseys with the Hawks rookie.
“Obviously, us No. 3s got to stick together. But I’ve been watching this kid grow from the preseason on to now, and I like his game. I think his game can go to another level, as well. I always want to be someone that a player like that can count on, can reach out to. That was a cool moment for me.”
The Hawks return home on Wednesday to play the San Antonio Spurs – the first of a four-game homestand.