The Atlanta Hawks and the Dallas Mavericks squared off on Wednesday evening at State Farm Arena. While the headliner was the first match-up between Trae Young and Luka Doncic in more than two years, the contest was uneven throughout and never established a tangible, aesthetically pleasing flow. Still, the Hawks led at times, only to succumb in the second half, falling by a final score of 122-116.
The Hawks stumbled out of the gate, falling behind by an 13-4 margin after the Mavericks scored nine straight points. Atlanta committed four turnovers in the first three minutes, and the quality of basketball was not at an all-time high.
Kevin Huerter put a stop to the carnage, though, scoring six straight points when the offense was scuffling.
Overall, the two teams were not clicking offensively, but Atlanta did receive a jolt from the bench in the form of Danilo Gallinari. The veteran big man scored 10 points in the first quarter, including 5-of-5 at the free throw line, and he was part of the home team’s ability to hang around despite poor overall statistics.
Tony Snell also brought solid production in a reserve role, taking part in a 9-2 run by the Hawks to take a 35-33 advantage. That spurt was kicked off by a beautiful lob from Trae Young to Clint Capela, with the Hawks taking advantage of the extra attention paid to Young.
Later, Young connected on his first field goal of the game, burying a deep three-pointer to give the Hawks a 42-39 advantage.
The Hawks pushed the lead up to as many as six points before the halftime margin settled at 56-53 in Atlanta’s favor. The Hawks shot 60 percent in the second quarter to improve their overall output from the half, and Atlanta had three players in double figures prior to halftime with Huerter, Gallinari and John Collins.
To begin the second half, Collins connected on a three-pointer to extend the lead to six, but Atlanta slowed from there. Dallas scored the next six points and used a 13-5 overall run to claim a 66-61 advantage. The Hawks did have a push coming, with a pair of threes by Collins and Gallinari joining forces with a catch-and-shoot offering from Young to retake the lead.
Tony Snell makes the extra effort to get Trae a clean look. pic.twitter.com/gsThTyLiEu— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) February 4, 2021
Near the end of the third quarter, however, things pivoted back in the direction of Dallas. With Young off the court, the Mavericks turned a tie game into an eight-point advantage, exploiting the Rajon Rondo-led second unit of the Hawks. From there, Dallas extended its lead to as many as 15 points, maintaining that edge with approximately four minutes to go.
To their credit, Collins and Young engineered a comeback attempt, cutting the margin all the way down to three with 42.3 seconds remaining.
The Mavericks stabilized from there, however, and the Hawks were unable to pull off the comeback in the final minutes. Ultimately, Atlanta fell by a six-point margin.
Collins scored a season-high 35 points, tying his career high in the process. He converted 16-of-21 shots, grabbed 12 rebounds and was generally fantastic throughout the game. In support, Gallinari scored a season-high 19 points in only 21 minutes, with Young adding 21 points and nine assists and Huerter contributing 21 points and 10 assists.
The Hawks will return to action in short order, hosting the Utah Jazz at State Farm Arena on Thursday evening.