It was a battle of “epic” proportions between two four-win teams at State Farm Arena Monday night, as the nearly unrecognizable Golden State Warriors came to town. It would be the Atlanta Hawks (5-16) that claimed the bragging rights, though, winning 104-79.
“It wasn’t pretty but we’ll take it,” head coach Lloyd Pierce said. “It feels better than coming in here the last 10 games.”
When the league schedule was released a couple of months ago, this was a mouthwatering fixture. However, injuries derailed the Warriors’ season, and the Hawks entered the contest on a 10-game losing streak. But alas, the Hawks won, something that has become a rarity since John Collins’ suspension.
The product on the floor was lackluster, shall we say. The game certainly played like your typical bottom of the table fixture, but there were definitely positives for the Hawks to take away.
Trae Young and De’Andre Hunter, playing on his 22nd birthday, led the charge for Pierce’s team. The rookie finished with 18, while Young added another cool 24 points to continue his stellar season. Hunter’s night took a worrying turn in the fourth quarter, though, when he headed straight to the locker room with a dislocated right index finger.
“It didn’t sound like there was anything serious,” Pierce said. X-rays were negative, but it remains to be seen whether or not Hunter will miss any action.
Damian Jones also put together one of his better games in a Hawks uniform. The big man scored 16 points and hauled in eight rebounds against his former team.
“You always want to do well against your former team,” Jones said. “[We were] just trying to get a good start to December … hopefully, this game builds momentum.”
On the defensive end, the Hawks looked solid. Look, they didn’t play the Warriors we have become accustomed to over the years, but they held them to under 80 points. That deserves to be highlighted, even though the Warriors currently embody an island of misfit toys.
For the Warriors, Eric Paschall was about the only positive. The forward poured in 24 points, grabbed nine rebounds and provided a team-high six assists.
Steve Kerr’s men struggled with turnovers throughout the contest, however, finishing with 23 of them. The coach tried his best to keep his players’ heads high, but the Hawks opened it up in the third quarter and never looked back.
Vince Carter hit a 3-pointer with 1:09 left in the third to expand the team’s lead to 23 and electrify the crowd, which needed a spark to find its voice. The veteran finished with six points off the bench.
Next up for the Hawks is the Brooklyn Nets at State Farm Arena Wednesday night.