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Hawks drop ninth straight despite heroics from Trae Young, 105-104

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NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Indiana Pacers Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks made their way to Indianapolis on Friday night for a matchup with the Pacers, currently sitting in sixth place in the NBA’s Eastern Conference.

The Hawks continue to be without John Collins (suspension), as well as Kevin Huerter with a shoulder injury. During the broadcast, Huerter hinted at a return as early as next week, though time will tell on the next time he will see the court.

The opening minutes started out well for both teams as the game went back and forth in the first period. Neither team really had any notable runs, and the action was moving at a fast tempo.

The Pacers had some really good looks at the basket, but they simply couldn’t get much to go down. Malcolm Brogdon was their main catalyst in the early going, but after he exited, the offense pretty much died for Indiana.

Fortunately for the home team, the same was true when Trae Young left the game for his first quarter break. Young was getting whatever he wanted against the Pacers’ defense and whenever he was on the bench it was pretty much a win for them.

Alex Len was a big part of the Hawks’ first quarter offense as he was able to work his way into the lane to be on the receiving end of some wonderful Young passes to the rim.

At the end of the first, the Hawks actually found themselves leading 23-22 which has not been the case in nearly any of their other games this season, where the first quarter has been a problem point for this young team.

In the second quarter, Len remained a big part of the Hawks attack in the lane. In particular he had a very nice catch and finish against Domantas Sabonis that triggered some momentum for Atlanta.

After a Justin Holiday three-pointer to tie the game at 29, the Hawks made their first big run of the night. With Young as the engine, Atlanta mounted a 14-1 run and then extended that run to 21-3 before the Pacers leveled off again.

Indiana continued to get reasonable looks that they were just missing, but to Atlanta’s credit, they did a good job of running the Pacers off the three-point line. The three-pointers that they did take felt out of rhythm, and as a result, the Hawks made their way to an 18-point lead at one point.

The Pacers could manage just 21 points in the second quarter and found themselves down 54-43 at the break.

The Hawks came out slow to open the third period and the Pacers took full advantage. Indiana opened the quarter on a 14-3 run before Young was able to steady the ship a bit.

From the seven minute mark until the final two minutes of the third, the game began to drag as neither team was able to get anything going on the offensive end. Turnovers continued to mounted on both ends.

Indiana finally regained the lead with 1:50 to go and then the Pacers added on five more points from there.

The Hawks were only able to score 11 points in the 12 third quarter minutes while Indiana poured on 29 of their own, but at the end of three, Atlanta only found themselves down 72-65 with the game still in the balance.

Young was able to help draw the Hawks within a point after two three pointers and two free throws in the opening minutes of the fourth. Atlanta regained the lead for a second at 77-76, but the Pacers took it right back with back-to-back three pointers from Doug McDermott.

The Hawks began to go back-and-forth with the Pacers once again as they drew within two points on Young’s 30th point of the night early in the fourth. Young was able to cut it to just one point around the 5:30 mark of the fourth and then got the lead back on the very next possession with a step back mid-ranger.

With Atlanta up 87-86, the final five minutes began. The Pacers got four quick points, but Young cut it back to one with two free throws and then got the lead back on a scoop lay in with three minutes to go.

The Pacers regained the lead off of a Jeremy Lamb floater with 2:05 remaining and then both teams really tightened down. Alex Len got fouled and went one-of-two at the line to tie the game up at 92 with just under 1:30 remaining.

Sabonis was then fouled on the opposite end and hit both free throws to regain the lead at 94-92. The Hawks missed on three consecutive possessions, but got the game back to even on a Young floater with just 11 seconds to go.

With the game knotted at 94-94, the Pacers turned to Malcom Brogdon and Brogdon took a very difficult runner which was solidly defended by De’Andre Hunter. Brogdon rolled it off the rim and the game made its way into overtime.

The Pacers rattled off the first five points of OT to take a 99-94 lead. Young finally scratched for the Hawks with just under three minutes left in the period as he hit a wing three pointer to get his 44th point. Then, after a good defensive stand, the Hawks got an opportunity to tie the game or take the lead in the final two minutes.

Lloyd Pierce took a timeout to try and draw up a play with 1:40 remaining and got Alex Len a wide open look under the basket to tie the game again at 99.

Indiana quickly reclaimed the lead with a corner three from T.J. Warren which would end up being the deciding blow. Atlanta had multiple opportunities, but the real back breaker came after Len was able to pick off a Sabonis pass. Len got the ball ahead to DeAndre’ Bembry who went straight at Sabonis on the break for a two pointer (which he missed) when the Hawks needed a three pointer to tie.

The Pacers rebounded the miss and hit their free throws to drive the dagger home. Atlanta put up a good fight, but the abysmal effort in the third quarter ended up costing them this one in the end.

Trae Young tied his career high (and set a season high) with 49 points and six assists in 42 minutes of action. Bembry and Len each added 15 more and combined to grab 21 rebounds. Outside of those three players, the Hawks scored just 25 points, which is not the most encouraging thing to see.

There will be no rest for the weary as the Hawks get right back to it tomorrow night against the Houston Rockets. Stay tuned.