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Hawks blitzed in blowout loss to Kings, 135-113

There was optimism early... and then it vanished.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Sacramento Kings Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks put together a splendid performance on Monday evening, upsetting the LA Clippers on the road in front of a national audience. The team could not carry over that positive momentum, however, as the Hawks collapsed during the middle portion of Wednesday’s battle with the Sacramento Kings on the way to a 135-113 defeat.

The evening began in encouraging fashion for the visiting team, as the Hawks put together an 8-0 run after Sacramento struck first. In on-brand fashion, the spurt included Trae Young and John Collins collaborating on a highlight dunk.

From there, Atlanta pushed their advantage to 15-6 after a three from DeAndre’ Bembry and the Hawks opened the night making 9 of their first 13 shots. Young was picking apart the Kings with pinpoint passing and, for good measure, he had his jumper going.

While he was limited from a playing time standpoint, Kent Bazemore made his triumphant return to action after missing more than a month with an ankle injury.

The Hawks led by as many as 10 points in the opening period but the Kings would make a run, stringing together 10 consecutive points to take a 32-29 lead. Jeremy Lin stopped the bleeding with two free throws at the end of the quarter but the damage was done, as Sacramento overcame their slow start despite 60 percent shooting (and 10 assists) from Atlanta.

While the end of the first quarter wasn’t great, the early portion of the second quarter did include a highlight, when Bembry threw down a monster dunk.

That was virtually the only bright spot in the second period, though, and the Kings continued their scoring play to the tune of a 19-4 overall run between the end of the first and the beginning of the second quarter. Sacramento led by as many as 15 points in the period and, in general, Atlanta scuffled mightily on both ends.

The Hawks generated only one assist while committing five turnovers and Atlanta made only 5 of 18 shots in the second quarter. On the Sacramento side, it wasn’t red-hot shooting that provided their spark, but the Kings picked up seven offensive rebounds (generating additional opportunities) and only turned the ball over once.

When the dust settled, the Hawks were trailing by 14 points and that was a far cry from the 10-point lead (buoyed by strong play) in the early going. The third quarter did begin in favorable fashion, though, with a Kevin Huerter three prompting a timeout from Sacramento with the lead slashed to 12.

Unfortunately for the visitors, that optimism was (very) short-lived and the barrage was on its way. The Kings zoomed to an 11-3 run to take a 20-point lead and didn’t stop there, building their advantage to the point where Sacramento led by as many as 29 (!) points in the third quarter.

In fact, Sacramento outscored Atlanta by a comical 80-43 margin over a 30-minute period of game time, shooting 55 percent during that stretch while the Hawks scuffled mightily. When the onslaught slowed, the result of the game was basically settled and it was an ugly performance from Lloyd Pierce’s team in an overall sense.

Individually, there wasn’t much to point to for optimism, though Young did perform at a high level offensively. The rookie guard finished with 23 points (including 4 of 9 from three) and eight assists in 29 minutes and he led a crew of seven players that reached double-figures in the scoring department.

The Hawks will continue their road trip on Friday evening with a face-off against the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City. Stay tuned.