The Hawks were unveiling their new “Peachtree” jersey’s and court, which included a post-game performance by rapper 2 Chainz. Despite losing a tight game 135-127 to the Milwaukee Bucks, the fans left satisfied thanks to Eric Bledsoe missing two free throws, securing everyone in the arena… a free chicken sandwich from Chick-Fil-A. The Hawks fell to 4-10, while the Bucks moved to 11-3.
While they did lose, the Hawks showed signs of promise against a top contender who won the eastern conference. So what went well and what went wrong?
Let’s start with what went right.
Overall the team scored 127 points, shooting 45.8% from the field. Anytime you can go out and score 127, you’re doing something right, and despite being behind most of the game, the offense looked promising, engaging and electrifying fans throughout the game.
De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish shined
The rookies showed the Atlanta crowd what the hype was about tonight, both having the best games of their careers so far. Hunter scored a career-high 27 points on 8-12 shooting and looked phenomenal with the ball in hands.
“I was just in rhythm. I hit my first couple of shots, and that definitely helps a lot. I was confident,” Hunter said.
If this is something Hunter can continue to produce throughout the year, the Hawks can continue to see high scoring numbers indefinitely. Also, Reddish added 17 points on 6-10 shooting, getting praise from Head Coach Lloyd Pierce.
“I applaud [Reddish] for the getting in the gym last night and putting in work, and you see Cam come out and have his best performance of the year,” Pierce said
After a five-game road streak, the longest of both men’s careers, they were both unfazed by something that can stun rookies and showed great maturity throughout the game.
The Bench stepped up
The bench was tasked with increased minutes due to the high intensity of the game, and they stepped up. Veteran Vince Carter, despite shooting 5-13, provided a good spark to the offense and got the crowd on their feet after a couple of three-pointers. Allen Crabbe, a man who has seen limited minutes, played roughly 20 minutes and had 10 points.
Looking forward, the Hawks need consistent production from their bench to start seeing success, but if this game against the Bucks was any indicator, it’s that they’re very capable of producing at a high level.
Despite these positives, there are many things the Hawks need to improve going forward. So what went wrong for Atlanta?
Despite scoring 127, the Hawks gave up a whopping 135 points and allowed the Bucks to shoot 52.9% from the field. To no surprise, Giannis Antetokounmpo led the scoring with 33 points on 12-17 shooting. Jabari Parker made every attempt to keep him scoreless for most of the 1st quarter; unfortunately, he exploded, showing us why he’s the reigning MVP.
“Hope that Jabari can get fouls on [Antetokounmpo],” Coach Pierce jokingly said in the post-game press conference, when asked how to stop Giannis,” Bledsoe added 28 points before he fouled out late in the 4th quarter. Once again, the perimeter defense lacked, giving up 17 three-pointers, most of which killed crucial runs by Atlanta.
Tempers started to brew from both the players and crowd early in the 2nd quarter after some controversial calls against Atlanta. This kept on building up until two back to back no calls on Trae Young rubbed him and Coach Pierce the wrong way, both verbally expressing their frustration with the referees. Both received technical fouls and further fueled the ginormous 20-5 run Milwaukee saw in the third quarter.
Also, the fans expressed their frustration chanting, “Ref, you suck!” constantly throughout the game.
Young had a game to forget. He scored 25 points, but he shot 8-22 from the field, “I can’t bash him too hard, as he did have 8 assists, but the simple matter is in close games there are times where the ball needs to leave his hands rather than end up in an iso situation, said Pierce.”
“I have to be better when it comes to [slow starts]. A lot of that’s on me. I have to help our team,” Young said.
If you’re a Hawks fan, don’t worry too much about this loss. The team showed that when they play to their potential, they can easily be a playoff team. Next on the Atlanta Hawks schedule is the Detroit Pistons Friday, November 22nd in the Motor City. They will look to keep the offense producing at a high level.
Atlanta Hawks schedule