Atlanta hopes to stay hot during visit to Memphis
The surging Atlanta Hawks pursue their seventh consecutive win on Friday when they visit the Memphis Grizzlies.
Atlanta won its sixth straight on Wednesday, beating San Antonio, 124-106, behind Trae Young’s 31 points. Young was one of eight Hawks to score in double figures in the win.
“The whole bench was engaged the whole time, whether it was the starters in or the second unit in,” Young said in his postgame press conference. “We were just all engaged, and we all wanted to win. The main focus coming in tonight was just breaking that streak of losing on the road.”
In addition to extending the Hawks’ current winning streak, Wednesday’s result marked their first road win since beating New Orleans on Oct. 27. Atlanta dropped its previous seven straight away from home.
The Hawks now seek their first consecutive road wins since Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals last season at Philadelphia, and Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals at Milwaukee.
Balanced scoring has powered Atlanta during this run. Young has back-to-back 30-point-plus games, and jump-started the winning streak with 42 points in an Eastern Conference Finals rematch with Milwaukee on Nov. 14.
The Hawks as a team have run off three straight with at least six players in total scoring in double figures, and had four scorers each hit for at least 20 points in the Nov. 15 defeat of Orlando.
Cam Reddish has provided offensive punch off the bench, scoring 57 combined points in the last four games. At 11.8 points per game, he is one of six Hawks averaging in double figures for the season along with team-leading Young (25.3), John Collins (16.6), Bogdan Bogdanovic (12.3), Clint Capela (11.3) and De’Andre Hunter (10.8).
Hunter has been out throughout the winning streak due to wrist surgery, and will not return for at least eight weeks.
Atlanta’s high-scoring balance has fueled the Hawks not just to wins, but lopsided wins. Every victory amid their streak has been by double digits.
The Hawks face a Memphis team on Friday ranked last in the NBA in scoring defense. The Grizzlies are allowing 115.5 points per game, and have allowed an average of 127.3 points over their last three games.
Memphis is 1-2 in that stretch after a 126-113 loss Wednesday to Toronto. Ja Morant was one of three Grizzlies to score at least 20 points, leading the way with 23, but surrendering 14-of-30 3-point shooting to the Raptors offset Memphis’ balanced offense.
“The thing that’s missing is the extra efforts,” Dillon Brooks said in his postgame press conference. “If one guy hits a (3-pointer), we got to close out harder. Or 50-50 balls, we got to go get them.”
Brooks is averaging 19.4 points per game in his five appearances since debuting on Nov. 10. He missed the first 10 games of the season recovering from a broken hand.
Offense has been no issue for Memphis, which is averaging better than 110 points per game. Morant is averaging 25.3 points per game to set the pace and 7.1 assists per game.
Memphis took a hit to some of its perimeter scoring depth with De’Anthony Melton sidelined due to a groin injury.
–Field Level Media