Will the Hawks stick with their same rotations in Game 2 versus the Knicks?

Nate McMillan

The Hawks played 10 guys in Game 1 against the Knicks, though rookie Onyeka Okongwu only saw the floor for three minutes, so it was essentially a nine-man rotation, which is what we expected from Nate McMillan coming into the series.

Nathan KnightBruno FernandoSolomon HillKris Dunn, and Skylar Mays were DNPs, and I don’t expect that to change for Game 2. I also believe Onyeka Okongwu will join them. He showed a lot of promise down the stretch of the season, playing as a 6th overall pick should, but he’s still a rookie with minimal experience. Before the series, I thought McMillan would put him in early in the game to sort of test the waters and see if he was ready; that’s exactly what happened, and the fact that he was quickly taken out and never returned is telling.

Of the starters, three of them — Trae YoungJohn Collins, and Clint Capela — played 35 minutes, and Bogdan Bogdanovic played 34. I thought McMillan did a fantastic job staying patient in both halves letting his starters rest on the bench. This is a long series, and there is no reason to burn your guys out for a Game 1 win. I expect these four to get a similar amount of run in Game 2; however, I could see their minutes rising a bit if the series gets to Games 5, 6, and 7.

The other starter, De’Andre Hunter, only played 22 minutes, but that’s not all that surprising given he was on a minutes restriction to end the season. For the sake of argument, I’m going to assume he’s no longer on a minutes restriction. I thought Hunter did well when asked to guard Randle, but he’s still a little rusty offensively. If he starts knocking down his shots, I expect his minutes to go up with each game.

As far as minutes are concerned, the two key pieces off the bench were Danilo Gallinari and Kevin Hurter. Gallinari should continue to log around 25 minutes per game, just as he did during the regular season. The amount of playing time Huerter receives will likely be determined by the play of De’Andre Hunter. If Hunter finds a groove, expect Huerter to play around 20 minutes a night, but if Hunter is cold like he was on Sunday, Huerter will play 25-30 minutes.

Tony Snell and Lou Williams were the other two Hawks to log significant playing time in Game 1 — each playing 13 minutes. I wouldn’t expect that to change moving forward. They will likely be on the floor for 10-15 minutes every game of the series.

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