ATLANTA — The Atlanta Hawks found themselves laughing for the first time in a long time.
Trae Young scored 24 points, rookie De’Andre Hunter added 18 and Damian Jones pitched in a career-high 16 points with eight rebounds as the Hawks beat the Golden State Warriors 104-79 on Monday night.
The Hawks were just happy to win again after snapping a 10-game losing streak in a matchup of the two teams with the NBA’s worst records.
It was a season low in points scored for the Warriors (4-18) and the fewest the Hawks (5-16) have allowed in a game.
Golden State dressed just nine players, even with centre Kevon Looney returning to action after missing 19 games with a nerve condition.
The opponent didn’t matter to Atlanta. The only thing the Hawks cared about was winning.
“It feels good, obviously; we haven’t won in a long time, which isn’t a good feeling,” Young said. “We’re all happy, but we have a long way to go ... We have to continue to get better.”
Rookie Eric Paschall led Golden State with 24 points, but his teammates combined to shoot 24 of 72 and the Warriors committed 25 turnovers which the Hawks converted into 25 points. The visitors were missing Draymond Green, DeAngelo Russell and Stephen Curry, among others.
“It’s frustrating to keep losing. We’re all competitors,” Paschall said after his 11th double-digit scoring game of the season. “It definitely feels like a step back, getting blown out.”
The Warriors led 23-20 after a quarter before Hunter scored six consecutive points for the Hawks early in the second period to give Atlanta the lead for good with a pair of jumpers and a couple free throws.
The Hawks stretched a nine-point halftime lead to 76-53 in the third quarter when Vince Carter drained a long 3-pointer with 1:09 left in the period.
Atlanta ranks near the bottom of every defensive category, yet they limited the Warriors to 39.8% shooting, and Golden State made just 3 of 17 3-point shots. Paschall made both his tries from long distance.
“We had good spirit, we were switching on and off the ball, making it difficult for them,” Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce said. “We knew they were on a back-to-back and they’re down a lot of bodies ... It was more the spirit of our guys than anything technical we did.”
Hunter scored 13 of his 18 points in the first half. He left the game midway through the fourth quarter with what was said to be a dislocated right index finger with no fracture.
Pierce didn’t believe the injury to be serious.
The Hawks enjoyed their latest win in the locker room.
“The guys are in there, they’re fun, they’re happy. It’s a different spirit than our last time out, “ Pierce said. “The guys were in there cracking jokes on Cam (Reddish) for missing a dunk, laughing at De’Andre (Hunter) because he was in pain when he jammed his finger. ... It’s good to see our guys feel and act normal after a game.”
Warriors: Draymond Green did not play because of inflammation in his right heel. That heel kept him out of three games recently before he played in Golden State’s two previous contest on a 24-minute restriction. Green will have his jersey retired Tuesday night at Michigan State, where he played collegiately. Several Warriors plan to attend, including head coach Steve Kerr. Teammate Klay Thompson, who is rehabbing a torn ACL in California, is slated to join the festivities in East Lansing, Michigan. Injured guard Stephen Curry will not make it, as he is scheduled for surgery Tuesday to remove pins from his broken hand. ... Former Hawk Omari Spellman, who was traded to Golden State last summer, had 10 points and nine rebounds. “We didn’t really execute what Steve wanted defensively so offence didn’t matter,” he said. “When I first walked into the gym it was a little emotional. But it’s still a job.”
Hawks: Guard Allen Crabbe missed the game with flu-like symptoms. ... Rookie guard/forward Cam Reddish had an MRI on Monday morning on his bothersome left wrist. The scan revealed no more than a sprain. He played off the bench, scoring eight points on 3-of-10 shooting. ... Guard Kevin Huerter missed his 11th straight game with a left rotator cuff sprain but participated in a limited practice Monday morning. ... Forward John Collins remains suspended by the NBA.
After a competitive first quarter, the Warriors were gradually run out of State Farm Arena on the way to their sixth loss in seven games.
“A disappointing game, let’s put it that way,” Kerr suggested. “We were playing for ourselves out there instead of playing for each other. (Losing) wears on you.”
Warriors: Will play the fourth game of a five-game trip Wednesday night against the Bulls in Chicago.
Hawks: Will host the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday.
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