Atlanta Hawks rout Portland Trail Blazers 129-117 at State Farm Arena

The Atlanta Hawks stand for the national anthem during Wednesday nights matchup against the Orlando Magic. Photo by Matt Siciliano-Salazar | The Signal

The Atlanta Hawks knocked off the Portland Trail Blazers 129-117 Saturday night at State Farm Arena. Was it because of Trae Young and John Collins’ double-doubles? Maybe. Was it because the Blazers were without All-Star Damian Lillard? That could be another reason, too.

Either way, they got the job done. Here is how it went down.

In the first few minutes, the Hawks offense lacked fluidity and rhythm, a theme that has been portrayed in many home games this season. The Hawks shot an abysmal 36% from the field in the first quarter, allowing the Trail Blazers to pad leads early on. However, the Hawks’ late push kept them alive, and the quarter ended with Portland up 28-23.

With Lillard’s absence, C.J. McCollum had another great game and finished with 35 points. He truly was the catalyst for the Blazers and seemed to be the only consistent scoring threat for terry Stotts’ offense. 

Hassan Whiteside played well, too, finishing with 21 points and 13 rebounds. He also continued to show why he is a dominant force in the paint: he finished with a game-high three blocks. 

While Atlanta struggled on defense, so did Portland. They had no answers for a hot Atlanta offense who recorded consecutive 40-point quarters for the first time since 2016. The bench helped out a lot in this one, too, with 31 points behind much-needed energy. 

Lloyd Pierce’s squad moved the ball well and helped set up easy opportunities for themselves. The team recorded a season-high 34 assists. 

Although Young did not have the best shooting performance (7-18 from the field), he did other things well. He finished with 25 points and 15 assists. He set up his teammates well and allowed them to get it going early and establish a rhythm. 

De’Andre Hunter had it going on offense as well. He finished with 22 points on 8-12 shooting and 6-9 from three-point. Hunter shot with great confidence, and his aggression was vital in providing scoring for the Hawks. His coach even raved about his play 

“I thought he was tremendous tonight… D. Hunt can play in back-to-back now,” Pierce said. 

Future Hall-of-Famer Carmelo Anthony also had high praise for Hunter.

“I like him. He is a physical guy,” Anthony said. “ He just knows how to play the right way.”

Collins had another great game as he finished with 24 points and ten rebounds. The league can no longer ignore his consistency. Collins has quietly become a walking double-double, and jump shot continues to improve, too. The range on his perimeter shot bodes well when teams start to double team Young, as he can kick the ball out to Collins for open looks beyond the arc.

Along with Young, Collins and Hunter, Kevin Huerter’s game cannot get glossed over either. He finished with 19 points and played great defense, which was highlighted by a game-altering block midway through the second quarter to quiet a run from Portland.

“I’ve been putting in some extra work since the All-Star break,” Huerter said. 

This team is buying in and putting in the work during breaks and are getting better. 

The Hawks are gelling well as a team, as confidence is apparent among the young players. Although Young gets a lot of praise and recognition, this team is much more than one player. They have shown what their potential can be in the last few games, especially when they move the ball. Pierce’s team finished with six players in double figures and two of those coming from off the bench. 

Game Ball: De’Andre Hunter played great in this game as he held future Hall-of-Famer Carmelo Anthony to only 12 points. Not only was his defense good, but he also contributed to the offensive end finishing with 22 points. Hunter is proving that he has what it takes to be a great two-way player in this league. 

For a team that plays well but still ends up on the wrong side of the win-loss column, the biggest question is consistency. 

“Can we keep it up?” Pierce said after the game. “Can we continue to share the basketball and move the basketball that way?”

Only time will tell, but the future looks bright for Atlanta.

Portland travels to Orlando to take on the Magic as they finish up a brief two-game road trip Monday at 7:00 p.m. Atlanta takes on the Memphis Grizzlies at home as they finish up their homestand on Monday at 7:30 p.m.