Saturday night was a game filled with drama, strategy, and star player performances. The two teams sought to overcome injuries and fought for 53 minutes to earn a victory. There were 17 lead changes and 14 ties, but eventually the Hawks won their fourth straight game in beating the Golden State Warriors in overtime on Saturday night in State Farm Arena, 141-134.
Trae Young finished with 35 points and six rebounds. Jalen Johnson added 21 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists and no turnovers. Clint Capela had 17 points and 15 rebounds, and Onyeka Okongwu closed out the game with 22 points and 10 rebounds. On the other side, Stephen Curry displayed a vintage performance with 60 points on 22-for-38 (58%) shooting from the field and 10-for-23 (44%) shooting from three.
Before tip-off, the Hawks announced that Saddiq Bey would miss the game, his first absence of the season, with an ankle roll he suffered last night against the Phoenix Suns. De’Andre Hunter missed the front end of the back-to-back managing right knee inflammation, and he was kept on a minutes limit in this one – registering six points in 16 minutes. Wes Matthews gave the Hawks good minutes yesterday, but he was also ruled out for Saturday night due to right calf injury management.
The Warriors had injury troubles of their own – namely Chris Paul, Moses Moody, Gary Payton II, and Dario Saric. In addition, Andrew Wiggins would leave the game due to a left ankle injury and did not return.
Both teams had a size deficit, owing to both the makeup of the teams and the missing players, but Atlanta was able to seize control of the glass behind good efforts from both Clint Capela and Onyeka Okongwu.
Here, Okongwu defeats the box out attempt from Draymond Green and, on the second attempt, lays the ball up and in.
‘OO’ recorded his fourth-career game hitting multiple three-pointers, one of which on Saturday was this corner shot.
He later displayed some great post defense in smothering this Jonathan Kuminga attempt.
For the second game in a row, Okongwu helped close out the win on the floor in an effort to allow the Hawks to switch perimeter actions. He feasted on the small-ball lineups deployed out of necessity by Steve Kerr en route to a season-high 16 rebounds in the effort.
“[Okongwu] had so much life tonight,” effused head coach Quin Snyder. “Golden State was small and we were cross-matching. And he was guarding a wing.”
“Onyeka’s rebounding late in the game – he was crashing the offensive glass,” later continued Snyder. “But on the defensive glass, it seemed like he just gobbled him up. And earlier in the game, I thought some of those long rebounds, they were able to get. If they get those, a lot of times it ends up in a three. And it seemed like when he didn’t get it, ‘JJ’ got it. So giving them only one shot is a huge part of playing [Golden State].”
Trae Young concurred with his coach, saying, “our bigs have been playing really good for us lately, and ’O’ hitting threes now for us is really good. It just adds another element to our team – element to his game. And ultimately makes his game a lot better. And that just makes our team better. So him knocking down threes, being aggressive, going for rebounds. We got some putbacks. [...] We just need ‘O’ to continue to being himself, being ‘O’, and bringing that type of energy that he brought tonight and that will help us a lot for sure.”
Due to the absence of Hawks forwards, Okongwu even shared the floor with Capela for around eight minutes of this one. He hit a couple of threes to help with the spacing for that lineup, as ‘O’ attested to after the game.
When asked about the key to playing with Clint Capela in the same lineup, Okongwu responded, “it’s about spacing more when I’m out on the floor with Clint. But in general, I’m interchangeable with Clint. When we’re guarding people out there, pick up the nearest man. Definitely help with our transition when I’m out there with Clint. And you know, I think it’s effective too. It definitely works and you know look forward to playing with ‘CC’ more.”
The matchup was so closely contested that the score was level after the second, third, and even the fourth quarters. Naturally, in a game that features Steph Curry and Trae Young, there was also some explosive scoring on display. Curry’s 60-point performance finished two points off of his career-high — and his team needed every bit of of it. Atlanta had no answers for his pull up game despite sending multiple defenders and the kitchen sink at him down the stretch.
A Green screen on Dejounte Murray in transition opened up plenty of space for Curry in the below clip.
Curry follows that by draining one over Murray and Young.
Finally, a step back three after he draws Okongwu on a switch.
But Trae Young and the Hawks responded to every Curry gut punch. The Warriors started throwing traps at Young at halfcourt, Young he was able to scoot past a number of then like on this play that resulted in an easy floater.
With the game knotted at 121 a piece and only a half minute remaining in the contest, Curry split a double team coverage and gave the Warriors a 123-121 lead.
Dejounte Murray was there to answer, however, with this free throw line jumper to tie the game with 4.1 seconds left.
The Hawks escaped to overtime after a Curry shot missed at the end of regulation. Luckily, the extra period was much less dramatic, with Atlanta racing out to a double-digit lead behind an 11-0 run.
I really liked the awareness from Jalen Johnson to cut baseline here — and of course Trae Young will find you.
The win was then punctuated with this ‘and-1’ from Dejounte Murray, who indicated that Brandin Podziemski lacked the requisite height to defend him.
The lead was never smaller than six points from there, and the Hawks secured their fourth straight win to take them to 22-27 on the season.
About trying to defend Steph Curry, coach Snyder spoke, “our effort defensively, it’s hard to say that when Steph Curry does what he did, but those weren’t easy baskets. It’s difficult to contain him when you’re fighting through two, three screens. Some of those shots were contested from behind. Some of them were contested with our bigs. And then you start standing up and he drives by you. But I thought collectively our defense, there was a focus. And especially late, you could feel our guys come together defensively late.”
And when asked about the team’s fatigue, Snyder replied, “well, they were on a back-to-back too. So maybe we were both moving slow. I thought both teams really competed. It’s why you don’t accept the fatigue component, because I think there was a lot of adrenaline out there tonight as well. We’ll probably feel it a little bit tomorrow.”
For the Hawks, you can call it a winning streak at the right moment as they inch closer to .500 and into the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference. Next up is Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers in a Monday night clash in State Farm Arena.