After an impressive first game from both of the Hawks’ 2021 draft picks on Sunday, Jalen Johnson and Sharife Cooper didn't take their foot off the gas in this evening's matchup. Skylar Mays, the second year Hawks guard, also joined in on the fun this time around as he finished the game with 16 points.
Cooper’s speed and passing ability was on display once again as he found ways to get in the lane with ease, and finding his teammates on nice passes.
Really intelligent and timely cut from AJ Lawson as Sharife Cooper continues to make everything look so simple as he gets separation with the in n out and delivers a perfect off hand dime. pic.twitter.com/Hdcp6ure6Q— Aram Cannuscio (@AC__Hoops) August 10, 2021
Johnson, who finished the game with another double-double (18 points, 10 rebounds), once again put on a show and connected with Cooper on a few highlight plays throughout the first half, including these two dunks:
Similar to Sunday’s game, the Hawks were up early with a 10-2 lead, but the Pacers went on a 15-5 run to end the first quarter. The Hawks struggled to take care of the ball, as they had six turnovers in the quarter.
Mays was more aggressive in this game and went on an eight-point scoring spurt to start the second quarter, which put the Hawks up 29-22. They continued to put pressure on the Pacers the rest of the quarter, and went into halftime with a 45-37 lead.
While Cooper is known for passing and penetrating the paint, the rookie was unconscious from three to start the second half, as his run of three triples gave the Hawks a 61-50 lead.
Chris Duarte, the No. 13 overall pick in the 2021 class, was a game changer for the Pacers throughout, and to end the third quarter he hit a buzzer-beater from about 30 feet to bring the Hawks lead down to six heading into the fourth.
That three gave the Pacers momentum heading into the fourth quarter, as they climbed back into the game and took the lead behind an 11-0 run. It was a back-and-forth contest down the stretch, with both teams hitting big shots when it mattered. For the Hawks, it was Cooper who led the team in the final minutes of the game.
Johnson found Cooper for a three to tie the game at 79 with less than three minutes left in the game.
Sharife is cookin'— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) August 10, 2021
- 18 PTS
- 4/6 3PM
- 9 AST pic.twitter.com/qGYJmXleR8
Just like Sunday’s game, the Hawks were down with just a few seconds left in the game with the ball in their possession. With 12.8 seconds remaining, Skylar Mays put up a three that bounced off the rim, but Max Heidegger was able to recover the ball. He then found Cooper backing up into the corner, and he hit the three to win the Hawks the game.
Cooper finished the game with 21 points and nine assists, while Johnson finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks.
Atlanta will face the Philadelphia 76ers Thursday night at 9 pm ET.