The Atlanta Hawks beat Blazers to win consecutive games behind young core. Coach Lloyd Pierce has always known that part of the Atlanta Hawks’ problem shooting 3-pointers is a lack of ball movement. Trae Young had 25 points and 15 assists, John Collins added 24 points and 10 rebounds, and the Hawks beat the Portland Trail Blazers 129-117 on Saturday night for their second straight victory. Atlanta, the NBA’s worst 3-point shooting team this season, dazzled beyond the arc for the second night in a row. The Hawks shot 42.9% on 42 attempts and have 37 treys in two games. De’Andre Hunter picked up where fellow rookie Cam Reddish left off the night before against Brooklyn, hitting six 3s and scoring 22 points.
CJ McCollum finished with 35 points and Hassan Whiteside had 21 points and 13 rebounds for the Trail Blazers. They were done for the night after Hunter and Collins hit consecutive 3s to make it a 16-point lead with 3:03 remaining. Portland has dropped three straight and six of seven to fall nine games under .500. The Blazers, who began the night 10th in the Western Conference, tried a trapping defense against Young, the second-year All-Star point guard, but they couldn’t account for his teammates. The rebuilding Hawks have been at or near the bottom of the NBA standings most of the season, but they have won eight of 10 at home and are looking more comfortable with a promising young nucleus of Young, Collins, Hunter, Reddish and Kevin Huerter.
Atlanta, winning on consecutive nights, took charge of the game during a chippy third quarter. Collins had a one-handed put back, a three-point play and a straightaway 3 for an 82-69 advantage. Bruno Fernando’s layup put the Hawks up 15 before the teams combined for two technical fouls and a flagrant foul as Atlanta pushed the lead to 20. The teams also combined for 44 points off 35 turnovers. Atlanta took its first lead since 7-6 when Young hit three free throws at the 4:50 mark of the second. Collins followed with a put back dunk, Hunter hit a 3 and Young hit a runner and two free throws to make it 55-48. Hunter and McCollum traded 3s in the closing seconds before halftime, and Atlanta led 63-56 entering the third.
Portland is still without Damian Lillard, who’s still recovering from a groin strain. The Blazers are 1-4 without Lillard and they’ll travel to Orlando to face the Magic on Monday. Atlanta will try to make it three in a row as they host the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday. The Grizzlies and Ja Morant are coming off an impressive win over the Lakers on Saturday night. The Hawks young core is starting to put things together. When Clint Capela finally debut for the Hawks, this could be exciting. Below are the averages of the young core for the Hawks the last two games. Let’s celebrate as the Hawks beat Blazers 129-117.
- Trae Young 23.5 points 14.5 assists
- John Collins 28.5 points 11.5 rebounds
- De’Andre Hunter 20 points 7 rebounds
- Kevin Huerter 17 points 4 rebounds
- Cam Reddish 17 points 3.5 rebounds (Left Blazers game early with back injury)