Three things we learned about the Hawks

Illustration by Myah Anglin |The Signal

The Atlanta Hawks only played two games last week, splitting with a win over the Toronto Raptors and a loss at home to the Milwaukee Bucks. They still sit at the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, but wins are becoming more crucial, with the eighth-seeded Charlotte Hornets only trailing them by two and a half games. 

From individual spectacles to surprising team spurts, here are three things we learned about Nate McMillan’s team this week. 

Bogdan Bogdanovic continues to flourish in the starting lineup

With Trae Young out against the Raptors on the road last Tuesday,  Bogdanovic’s 23 points led the team to a 108-103 win.

Matched up against Milwaukee, Bogdanovic scored 28 points in a matchup with one of the league’s best defensive teams.  

Bogdanovic continues to look good in his first year with the Hawks, evidently more comfortable after each game as a constant presence in the starting lineup. He has scored 20 or more points in three straight games and four out of the last five. 

His exceptional scoring ability is also coming on the best efficiency of his four-year career. His rebounding and growing ability to distribute the ball and set up his teammates takes the weight off of Young. It is becoming more apparent that Bogdanovic is the ideal candidate in the backcourt alongside Young.

Nate McMillan’s team can compete with the East’s Elite

Often, the strength of schedule is overlooked for a team, and the Hawks have been no exception. This season they have beaten a star-studded Brooklyn Nets team, the Philadelphia 76ers and have also kept both games with Milwaukee, the third seed, close.

You may be thinking they have a losing record against these teams, but they held their own even in single-digit losses. In Thursday’s loss to the Bucks, the Hawks competed without several key players, and Young seemed far from 100% healthy. Yet, they limited Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton to a combined 25 points. 

The second quarter is when the game broke away, but Atlanta matched points each quarter going forward. The team never makes excuses. They go out and compete each night and leave it all on the floor. This will be a dangerous team come playoff time. 

Clint Capela’s pure dominance on opposing frontcourts

Capela was the usual enforcer for McMillan this week, headlined by his 19 points and 21 rebounds against Toronto. His five offensive rebounds in this game were the story, leading to several second-chance scoring opportunities. 

Against the Bucks, he posted 16 points and 16 rebounds, his ninth-straight game with a double-double and 37th overall this season. 

Capela continued to do the little things well and captured some career milestones this week, reaching 2,600 rebounds for his career. His rebounding proves to be pivotal to the Hawks’ success and will be a major part of them potentially advancing in the postseason. Those added possessions can add more points and can tire out defense as the game begins to slow down in the postseason.