Allen Crabbe scored 20 points off of the bench while former Hawk DeMarre Carroll added 17 points and was a game-high plus-19. The Hawks were led by Marco Belinelli’s 19 points off of the bench while Dennis Schröder added 17 points and eight assists.
Dennis goes down
The obvious talking point from this game was the injury that Dennis Schröder sustained in the fourth quarter. It appears to be an ankle injury, although, it looked much worse before the replays were shown.
Here’s the injury:
Dennis Schroder is down after this injury. He was assisted off the court pic.twitter.com/2CMtBNdFG6— Anthony Puccio (@APOOCH) October 22, 2017
It’s a nasty roll of the ankle, there’s no doubt about it, and Schröder wasn’t able to put any pressure on it leaving the court and required assistance.
Postgame, Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer said that Schröder was getting X-rays but wasn’t able to provide much more information than that and we still don’t know the full extent of his injury.
“...we’ll just hope it’s just a sprained ankle and nothing more...,” coach Bud commented when asked about Dennis’ ankle.
Schröder himself sounded pretty confident that he won’t be out for too long and is aiming for a return for Thursday’s game against the Chicago Bulls but told the AJC postgame that he won’t “know how it works out,” before adding that the injury was, “nothing serious.”
Schröder was having a pretty rough game even before the injury: 17 points on 5-of-22 shooting from the field. Despite not having a great shooting night from the field, Dennis did dish out eight assists (while only committing two turnovers) and got to the free throw line on seven occasions after shooting just thee free throws in Charlotte.
The game itself was a tough loss for the Hawks but the loss of Schröder, for any extended period of time would, would, obviously, be a much greater loss for the team and their on-court aspirations.
Comeback falls short/Nets execution down the stretch
The Hawks found themselves with a lot of ground to make up heading into the final period of this game — down by 14 point having trailed by as many as 16 points.
But the Hawks plugged away and gradually chipped into the lead. The Hawks moved the ball well (seven assists on nine made field goals in the fourth quarter), managed to come up with defensive stops (Brooklyn helped them somewhat by taking some...interesting shots), got out in transition off of those stops and got themselves to the free throw line (as they did all game).
Marco Belinelli hit a long two-pointer (capping a 22-8 Hawks run) that tied the game at 99 with 5:19 remaining. After coming up with another defensive stop right after this shot, the Hawks come up the floor with the opportunity to take the lead but decided to call a timeout with 4:51 remaining in the game.
From the resulting timeout, the Nets reeled off an immediate 7-0 run and ended the final 4:51 on a 17-5 run to take the 12 point victory.
To their credit, the Nets executed down the stretch — Allen Crabbe and D’Angelo Russell stepped up for the Nets — and had already put themselves up by seven points when Schröder went down (which, obviously, didn’t help the Hawks down the stretch either).
It seemed odd for the Hawks to take a timeout at a time when they seemingly had the Nets on the back-foot, and by calling a timeout they seemed to kill their own momentum and allowed the Nets to regroup.
Budenholzer believed — while crediting the Nets for their play down the stretch — his side expounded a lot of energy to make the comeback and believed the Schröder injury also hindered his side’s chances to pull this game out (which, there’s no doubt about it, played its part too).
“...Credit to Brooklyn,” said Bud postgame. “They made the plays going down the stretch. We were able to comeback and tie it up but we used a lot of energy to get there. Losing Dennis with the ankle... Obviously is hard when you’re in a close game and trying to come and make plays.”
John Collins’ first double-double
John Collins, again, provided a bright spark off of the Hawks bench and notched his first career double-double, scoring 14 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in 21 minutes of action.
Collins continues to display a great motor, great energy and has arguably been the most productive frontcourt player for the Hawks in this young season. That’s either quite concerning (since that also includes Kent Bazemore, Taurean Prince and Ersan Ilyasova) or encouraging for Collins going forward.
Coach Bud said postgame that Collins showed a lot of “positives” and praised his athleticism, but also acknowledged that he still has things to learn...
Hawks getting to the line
Free throws were an issue for the Hawks against the Hornets (Atlanta attempted just 14 free throws) but they weren’t an issue on Sunday evening — the Hawks took 36 free throws, converting 33 of them, 91.7%. Kent Bazemore led the way with eight free throw attempts and cashed in all eight times.
The Nets, to be fair, committed a lot of sloppy fouls (like DeMarre Carroll fouling Bazemore on a half-court heave at the end of the first half) and that definitely helped the Hawks boost their free throw count, but the Hawks, at times, also did a good job driving inside and making things happen for themselves.
Without these free throws, you wonder how ugly this loss could’ve been, what the point differential could’ve been...
The Hawks also sent the Nets to the line a ton (34 times) but the Nets didn’t take full advantage — shooting 67.6% and this helped the Hawks stick around for as long as they did.
The Nets’ bench marginally outscored the Hawks bench, 52-46, but they had two players in particular really stood out with great performances: Allen Crabbe and Trevor Booker.
Crabbe was big for the Nets to begin and end the game.
Crabbe scored 10 points in the first quarter and hit two huge three-pointers in the fourth quarter, after the Hawks took that timeout with the game tied at 99 — six of the seven points that came from that crucial 7-0 Brooklyn run came from Crabbe. His teammates trust him to make those shots.
“I know he’s automatic from behind the line,” said teammate D’Angelo Russell postgame.
Crabbe finished with a game-high 20 points.
Another bench player who made an impact (though, the boxscore wouldn’t really tell the full story) was Trevor Booker.
Booker scored 16 points, grabbed four rebounds, dished three assists and came up with a steal and was a force inside with his strength, toughness and hustle. He gave Luke Babbitt a pretty tough time in the second quarter, and it’s probably the main reason why Babbitt only saw five minutes of action on Sunday evening — a tough matchup for Babbitt.
Booker finished with second highest plus/minus rating of the evening with plus-16.
Taurean Prince’s second half disappearance
Taurean Prince was cooking in the second quarter (where seven of his nine points came in) but didn’t see a lot of action in the second half — six minutes and 38 seconds.
Why was this the case? Well...here’s a possibility as to why...
Shortly after the half-way mark in the third quarter, Prince attempted a behind-the-back pass aimed at Ersan Ilyasova near the rim but fails to find his teammate.
You can see the reaction of Hawks assistant coaches Darvin Ham and Taylor Jenkins, who basically face-palm in unison.
Such flashiness doesn’t really fly with the Hawks, especially if you commit the turnover instead of making the simple pass or the right play, which this certainly was not.
Half a minute later, Prince was yanked and was not seen again in this game...
Coincidence? Probably not...
The Hawks (1-2) are back in action tonight for round four of their five game road-trip against their fellow Southeast division rivals: the Miami Heat. With Dennis Schröder very unlikely to play in this game, it could be a rough night under the palm trees in Florida.