ATLANTA (AP) – Just when it seemed Dennis Schroder would enjoy a triumphant return to Atlanta, his successor as the Hawks’ starting point guard had a winning answer.
Trae Young had 24 points and 11 assists to win the showdown of current and past Atlanta point guards, leading the Hawks over the Oklahoma City Thunder 142-126 on Tuesday night.
“The shots just kept falling,” said Young, who had four three-pointers. “When you see the ball go in like we did in the game, I think it just keeps rolling.”
Schroder scored 21 points, including 14 in the third quarter. He had the Thunder’s final 11 points of the period, the last six on free throws, for a 100-97 lead.
Young answered with 13 points in the final period as the Hawks enjoyed their second 45-point quarter of the game. The Hawks outscored Oklahoma City 45-30 in the second period and 45-26 in the closing period.
The win was especially sweet for Young, the former star for his home-state Oklahoma Sooners.
“It feels good,” Young said. “To get a win against one of the top teams in the league is pretty special for us.”
The Thunder are third in the West but have lost three of four. The Hawks have won eight of their last 15 but still rank ahead of only three teams in the Eastern Conference.
Paul George said the Thunder were “a little flat”.
“These are the games that we have to be ready for, one of those games that we were supposed to roll and that didn’t happen tonight,” George said. “When you play a team like the Hawks, you have to match their energy and we didn’t do that against them.”
Russell Westbrook led Oklahoma City with 31 points and 11 assists. George had 24 points and Jerami Grant added 21.