Basketball

The Dec. 3 matchup between the Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks was a one-sided affair. The Warriors soundly defeated the Hawks 128-111. The Hawks’ starting five consisted of power forward John Collins, point guard Trae Young, center Dewayne Dedmon, small forward Taurean Prince and shooting guard Kevin Huerter. The Warriors, with power forward Draymond Green out due to a toe injury, fielded a starting five of shooting forward Klay Thompson, power forward Kevon Looney, point guard Stephen Curry, small forward Kevin Durant and shooting guard Andre Iguodala.

Curry had a hot start to the first quarter with 18 points, outscoring the Hawks’ first-quarter team score of 17 points. Playing in his second game after returning from a groin injury, Curry scored 30 points in 29 minutes, reigniting his campaign for league MVP. The Warriors’ threatening trio of Curry, Durant (28 points) and Thompson (27 points) combined for 85 points on the night.

The Hawks fell behind in the first quarter, but they outscored the Warriors in the second and fourth quarters, 30-27 and 34-31, respectively. But whenever the Hawks went on a run and reduced the Warriors’ lead, the Warriors retaliated with a mini-run of their own and re-established a dominant lead.

While the result was disappointing for the Hawks, Young (20 points, 3 assists) and Collins (24 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists) displayed great potential. The Hawks might very well tank again this year in order to obtain a high draft pick. This will give them a chance to draft top college prospects such as Duke University (N.C.)’s RJ Barrett, Zion Williamson or Cam Reddish.

In his postgame interview, Thompson jokingly said the current Hawks team reminds him of the Warriors, “maybe like seven years ago,” referring to the Warriors in 2012. At that time, the West coast dynasty was in its infancy. Thompson was drafted in 2011 and Green in 2012. At the same time, Curry was recovering from chronic ankle injuries.

Young, who is viewed as a future franchise-leading player for the Hawks, has been incessantly compared to Curry.

“Honestly, it’s getting old,” Curry said in an interview in response to the comparisons.

Although Young has been shooting poorly this season (37.9 percent FG, 23.9 percent 3PT), he leads this year’s rookie class with an average of 7.4 assists per game and is second to the Dallas Mavericks point guard Luka Doncic in scoring, with 15.8 points per game.

On a lighter note, a large contingent of the Hawks fans jeered Durant when he took free throws, shouting at the top of their voices, “Draymond hates you!” While the Hawks’ baskets and defensive plays were cheered on by the home crowd, the sheer star power and finesse of the Warriors mesmerised the crowd and brought about a feeling of helplessness and disbelief in the Hawks fans.

The Hawks return to action when they host the Washington Wizards on Dec. 5. Although the Wizards are favoured to win the impending matchup, their erratic performances this season may open a window for an upset against the Hawks, who are at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

The Warriors visit the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers on Dec. 5, as well. This is likely a routine win for the Warriors, who will be without Green again. He is not expected to return to the Warriors for at least the next two games.

Sophomore guard Matthew Schner drives to the lane in a game against Trinity University (Texas). The Eagles soundly defeated Trinity by a score of 116-77. Keerthana Sivaramakrishnan/Senior Staff

In the last week, the No. 23 Emory men’s basketball team had its fair share of ups and downs. On Nov. 28, they lost their second consecutive game to Sewanee: The University of the South (Tenn.), but rebounded massively on Dec. 1, winning 116-77 over Trinity University (Texas).

Sewanee improved to a season record of 7-0 by beating Emory 83-70. In the first half, Emory outscored their opponent 45-41. However, the second half proved decisive for Sewanee, which started out the half on a 10-1 run to put them up by five points within only two minutes and 26 seconds. Ultimately, Emory could not inch closer than four points during the rest of the half, as the Eagles shot only 28.1 percent while allowing Sewanee to shoot 54.1 percent from the field in the second half.

Head Coach Jason Zimmerman attributed the Eagles’ poor shooting to the team’s desperation for a victory.

“We wanted to win so bad that we got a little anxious and started taking bad shots,” Zimmerman said.

Sophomore point guard Romin Williams led Emory with 16 points while classmates forward Lawrence Rowley and guard Matt Schner each totaled a dozen points during the game.

Emory bounced back on Saturday, beating Trinity to push the Eagles’ season record to 5-2. The Eagles set a program record for most points in a game with 116.  

In addition to the point record, Emory also set a program record for three-point field goals made in a single game with 19, improving on the program record of 18 that Emory converted against Sewanee (Dec. 6, 2005) and against Keuka College (N.Y.) earlier this season.

“We cut harder, played smarter and shared the ball, as evidenced by our 29 assists,” Zimmerman said.

For the ninth time in school history, three players totaled 20 or more points in a single game, with sophomore guard Luke Morrison leading the way with 23 points (20 of which were scored in the second half), as he shot 7 of 8 from the floor and 5 of 5 from three-point range throughout the the game. Sophomore forward Matt Davet also eclipsed the 20-point threshold, pouring in 21 points, his third outing of 20-plus points this season. Leading scorer Williams rounded out the trio with 20 points, bringing his scoring average up to 18.1 points per game for the season.

Williams attributed the team’s offensive success in this game to its emphasis on teamwork.

“We just wanted to come out and get everyone involved within our offense,” Williams said. “[Zimmerman] did a great job of putting guys in positions to score, and consequently, we had 29 assists. Nothing but good things can happen when that occurs, and that led to our offensive outbreak.”

Overall, Emory made a season-best 56 percent (42 out of 75) of its field goal attempts. In the second half, the Eagles seemingly could not miss as they shot a virtually unheard-of 63.9 percent (23-of-36) from the field, enabling them to score 65 points in the second half alone.

The Eagles continue a five-game home stand on Dec. 5 when they play host to LaGrange College (Ga.), scheduled for a 7 p.m. tip-off.

Sophomore forward Lawrene Rowley attempts a free throw during the game against Trinity. Rowley scored 12 points in the contest, including eight of Emory’s first 11 in the second half. Keerthana Sivaramakrishnan/Senior Staff

In December 2017, retired big man Charlie Villanueva’s toilet was stolen. In the early 2010s, Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman inexplicably became best friends with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. Former All-Star Gilbert Arenas pulled a gun on his teammate in the Wizards’ locker room in 2009. The NBA is a strange place filled with strange stories. But there is one story that may be stranger than the rest: 76ers point guard Markelle Fultz forgetting how to shoot.

For me, a stereotypical Philadelphia-native sports fan, living through years of embarrassing Philadelphia 76ers basketball has burdened me with an intense love-hate relationship with the team.

After the Sixers drafted Fultz, I eagerly anticipated his contributions to the team. Like all sports fans, I want my teams and players to succeed. So when Fultz lost the ability to shoot, I was devastated.

During the 2016-17 collegiate season, Fultz shined on the court. A 6-foot-4-inch guard with an impressive 6-foot-9-inch wingspan, Fultz averaged 23.2 points, 5.7 assists and 5.9 rebounds per game on 47.6/41.3/64.9 shooting splits in his lone season at the University of Washington. He was named a Third-Team All-American and was the consensus No. 1 player for the 2017 NBA Draft. Fultz had scouts buzzing.

“Fultz is a franchise lead guard, future All-Star and a player any organization can build around,” draft analyst Mike Schmitz of DraftExpress and ESPN said. “He’s … a tremendous pick and roll player who can score at all three levels and facilitate with creativity.”

The 76ers, looking for their third young star to pair with point guard Ben Simmons and center Joel Embiid, traded the third pick in the draft and a future first to the Boston Celtics for No. 1 pick and drafted Fultz.

Finally, the Sixers had a player that could create his own shot and create for others. Many thought the acquisition of Fultz would complete the Sixers’ famous “Process” — the years of intentionally throwing games in order to obtain high draft picks through the NBA Draft lottery.

In the 2017 Summer League, Fultz sprained his ankle in the second game, but still showed potential as the No. 1 pick.

Then, Fultz showed up to training camp with a broken jump shot. In college and the Summer League, Fultz’s jumper was smooth, and the ball found its way into the basket at a high clip. Now, his shot looked stiff.

Fultz played the first four games of the NBA season and averaged a massively underwhelming six points on an abysmal 33 percent shooting from the floor before being shut down indefinitely with a mysterious shoulder injury that has no official cause to this day. Weeks later, after seeing multiple shoulder specialists, Fultz was diagnosed with scapular muscle imbalance.

Never heard of it? Neither had I.

Fans speculated that Fultz would miss the rest of his rookie season, but he eventually returned to the court 68 games later. Though his jump shot was still broken, and he attempted just a single three-pointer, he managed to become the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double.

Fultz saw limited minutes in the Sixers’ playoff run and did not see the court in their second-round matchup against the Celtics. However, the Sixers were hopeful that with an entire summer to train, Fultz could justify comparisons to reigning NBA MVP James Harden.

An entire summer with renowned NBA Strategic Skills Coach Drew Hanlen and a reported 150,000 shots later, Fultz started in the Sixers’ matchup against the Celtics in the season opener. But the NBA community was quick to notice that something wasn’t right with Fultz.

His shot still lacked fluidity, and he was reluctant to shoot any shot past 15 feet and posted a -0.3 net rating.

After the Sixers acquired guard and forward Jimmy Butler from the Minnesota Timberwolves, Fultz moved to the bench, where he saw his minutes gradually decline until he played just seven minutes in a game against the Phoenix Suns. After that game, Fultz did not practice or play in any more games, as he sought opinions from multiple shoulder specialists.

Shortly after, The Athletic published a report alleging that Fultz wanted a “fresh start” with a new team. After that, another story surfaced saying that Fultz had requested a trade, a claim his agent adamantly declined. Then, Sixers Reporter Keith Pompey revealed that the Philadelphia front office no longer considered Fultz as a part of their long-term plans and were open to trading the former No. 1 overall pick.

Fultz was diagnosed with Neurogenic Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (NTOS), a nerve compression disorder, on Dec. 4, per Brothers. Fultz is set to begin physical therapy treatment immediately, and the Sixers are optimistic that he could return to the court in three to six weeks.

The Fultz situation is among the most puzzling in NBA history. From a franchise cornerstone for which the Sixers traded two first-round picks to a player who may not suit up for the Sixers again, his story is one of the quickest reversals of fate I have ever seen.

Fultz’s value is virtually zero, and trading him for cheap would make little sense for the Sixers. However, if Fultz does actually want out of Philadelphia, then the team has a duty to get the disgruntled Fultz off the team.

I’m worried for Fultz. I fear time is running out for the former All-American. His story is truly disheartening, and I would do anything to see him succeed. Hopefully his physical therapy works, and he returns to action.

Perhaps I am too emotionally invested in a 20-year-old’s jump shot, but hey, what else would you expect from a Philly sports fan who cried after the Eagles won the Super Bowl and wore a Sixers jersey to his high school graduation?

Fultz needs to turn it around, and fast, or else his time in the NBA could be coming to an end sooner rather than later.

Men’s Basketball Routs Keuka

With a pair of wins over New York colleges, the Emory men’s basketball team captured the trophy at the Nov. 17 Dick Leftwich Tip-Off Tournament at Roanoke College (Va.).  

The Eagles defeated the College of Staten Island (N.Y.) Dolphins 86-68 on Nov. 16. Sophomore forward Matt Davet led the way in the second half, during which he scored 14 of his 24 points, and finished the game with 8 of 16 shots. While Davet led the team in scoring, he also grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds and his first career double-double. Sophomore forward Lawrence Rowley added 16 points, followed by sophomore guard Romin Williams who scored 13 points. Senior guard Gebereal Baitey also chipped in 12 points.

The next day, the Eagles gave the Keuka Wolves their first defeat of the season in the championship game 109-73. Williams shot 11 for 23 from the field and scored a career-high 32 points. He also tied the school record for the most threes in a game with his eight three-pointers, joining Richard Sommers (04C) and Alex Gulotta (12B). Rowley registered a double-double with 21 points and a career-high 12 boards. Davet scored 14 points on an efficient nine shots. Sophomore guards Nick Stuck and Matthew Schner added in nine dimes and nine boards, respectively.  

The Eagles next play against Sewanee: The University of the South on Nov. 28 looking to rebound after a 94-74 loss to Randolph-Macon College (Va.) on Nov. 25. —Anirudh Pidugu

Cross Country Finishes Season With Disappointing Finishes

The Emory women’s and men’s cross country teams finished 20th and 31st, respectively, of 32 teams at the Nov. 17 NCAA Division III Championships.

On the women’s side, senior Kaylee Slade saved her best for her last race of the season, clocking a personal-best 6K time of 22:27 that ranked 88th out of 277 runners. Senior Kayla O’Shea also posted a personal best with a time of 22:33 that earned her 100th place on the leaderboard. Sophomore Carrie McIntyre finished at a season-best 22:52, garnering 145th place. Sophomore Susie Martin and senior Maeve Andrews finished within a second of each other at 23:11 and 23:12, respectively. Sophomore Abby Durfee (23:22) and freshman Zoe Friedman (24:03) also competed in the event.

Despite finishing in second-to-last place, the men’s team’s top four runners all recorded season bests in their 8K race, giving the Eagles momentum headed into next season. Junior Luis Torres finished 171st of 279 runners with a time of 25:58, as he led the Eagles for the third straight meet. Senior Bennett Shaw finished only a second behind Torres with a time of 25:59 that ranked 177th in the field. Junior Sam Branson followed with 26:00, earning him 179th place. Sophomore Matt Dillon (26:02), sophomore Jack Whetstone (26:16), junior Andrew Kliewer (26:21) and freshman Brett Lucas (26:26) also competed in the event. —Alex Moskowitz

Editor’s Note: Kliewer is a member of the Wheel’s Editorial Board. He was not involved in the composition of this article.

Women Sweep Guilford Classic

Emory women’s basketball secured two back-to-back statement victories on Nov. 17 and 18. The Eagles defeated  Virginia Wesleyan University 64-37 on Nov. 17 and Guilford College (N.C.) 67-45 on Nov. 18 at the Guilford College Daly 7 Classic in Greensboro, N.C.

Against Virginia Wesleyan, the Eagles jumped to a quick 14-1 lead in the first quarter and maintained it for the rest of the matchup. Emory led by as many as 35 points in the game, ending with a 27-point victory.

The Eagles’ strong defensive prowess gave them complete control of the game. The Guilford Marlins were held without a field goal until seven minutes and 55 seconds left the second quarter.

Offensively, senior center Ashley Oldshue led the Eagles with a game-high 13 points on four of six shooting in only 18 minutes of action. Sophomore center Blair Ripley scored nine points in 11 minutes off the bench while senior guard Azzairia Jackson-Sherrod led both teams with eight rebounds and also contributed eight points. Junior guard Allison Chernow led the team in assists with five while junior point guard Lindsey Tse dished out four.

The next day, the Eagles maintained control of the game throughout the 67-45 victory over Guilford. Oldshue again led in scoring with 22 points on 10 of 14 shooting, which earned her the MVP title in the event. Jackson-Sherrod also finished with a double-digit point total, scoring 13 along with seven rebounds and a game-high three blocks. Tse also had a notable performance on both ends of the floor with a season-high nine assists and six steals. —Craig Supcoff

Junior guard Allison Chernow attempts a foul line jumper against the Transylvania University (Ky.) Pioneers on Nov. 24. Chernow was named UAA Women’s Basketball Player of the Week. Courtesy of Emory Athletics

The Emory women’s basketball team split their weekend games at the Gratz Park Private Wealth Classic in Lexington, Ky. The Eagles lost to Transylvania University (Ky.) 90-87 in a tough double-overtime match on Nov. 24, before recording a win against Denison University (Ohio) 69-57 on Nov. 25.

From the onset, the Eagles showcased an efficient, high-volume offense. Shooting a 46 field goal percentage, the Eagles also converted 63.6 percent of threes on 14 of 22 shooting, matching some the best individual game performances in Emory history.

This showed as the Eagles went on a 23-11 spurt in the third quarter, thanks in large part to junior point guard Lindsey Tse and junior guard Allison Chernow who each accounted for six points in the frame.

With a 46-39 lead entering the fourth quarter, Emory continued their hot stretch with a quick three by Chernow and a bucket by freshman guard Kennedy Cater. Although down by as many as 12 points, Transylvania went on a 13-2 run and managed to claim a three-point lead with under three minutes remaining.

Chernow hit a triple, only for the Transylvania Pioneers to convert a layup with 25 seconds remaining. Down two, Lindahl hit a clutch bucket with 12 seconds left to force the match into overtime, tied 65-65.

In overtime, the Eagles held a two-point advantage toward the end of the frame off a Chernow jumper. But with one second left, the Pioneers’ guard Zenoviah Walker received a foul off a rebound, before hitting two game-tying free throws.

In double overtime, the back-and-forth duel ended in the Pioneers’ favor as a three-pointer broke the deadlock with 34 seconds remaining. A last-effort three by Emory missed, and Transylvania emerged victorious 70-67 in the grueling 50-minute contest.

Junior point guard Lindsey Tse navigates through Pioneer territory against Transylvania University (Ky.) on Nov. 24. Courtesy of Emory Athletics

Chernow achieved a career-high in scoring against the Pioneers, with 39 points on 13 of 19 shooting. Her individual performance put her in elite company, as her 39 points are now the second-highest individual mark, just two points behind Mandy Jackson’s (95C, 04PH) 41 in 1993. Chernow’s nine three-pointers tied the all-time record set by Hannah Lilly (14C) in 2013.

“[I’m] very proud of the way [Chernow] played this weekend and the way her teammates set her up,” Head Coach Misha Jackson said. “Our biggest focus has been on trying to keep things simple, and I think [Chernow] really channeled in on that in a big way.”

Tse and junior forward Erin Lindahl chipped in double-figure points, with 14 and 11, respectively.

“As I told [the team] after [Saturday’s] game, I couldn’t be more proud of the way they fought,” Jackson said. “With four players fouling out, I was very impressed with all of our players being ready to play.”

Jackson added that the team needs to improve on specific statistics moving forward.

“Rebounding is a big statistical category for us, and, as you can see, we lost that in a big way on Saturday,” Jackson said. “Without winning that category, games will be tougher than they need to be.”

The next day, the Eagles faced Denison.

Once again, Chernow continued her hot scoring, as she and senior center Ashley Oldshue both contributed 25 points each. Chernow added eight rebounds and four assists, while Oldshue tallied six boards and four blocks.

Both teams squared at 46 heading into the fourth quarter. The upperclassman tandem, quite simply, took over the game.

In the final frame, the duo of Chernow and Oldshue accounted for 21 of Emory’s 23 fourth-quarter points. The combined 21 points outscored the entire Big Red team, who scored only 11 points in the final period. Their big performances led to a 12-point victory (69-57) in a game that was much closer than it appeared.

“I think the effects from the night before were still lingering, and our team went in determined in the fourth quarter,” Jackson said. “We got some big stops defensively and executed some big plays and shots at the free-throw line.”

The Eagles improved their record to 3-2 in a 72-52 home win against Sewanee: The University of the South (Tenn.) on Nov. 27. Emory will next compete against in-state rival Berry College (Ga.) on Nov. 30 at 7 p.m.

Junior guard Allison Chernow attempts to push past an Oglethorpe University (Ga.) guard in the Eagles’ season opener on Nov. 11. Matthew Barrett/Contributing Writer

The Emory women’s basketball team fell 71-62 in overtime to the Oglethorpe University (Ga.) Stormy Petrels on Nov. 12 during their season-opening contest hosted at the WoodPEC.

Senior center Ashley Oldshue led the way for the Eagles with a game-high 15 points and 10 rebounds, notching her 12th double-double. Senior guard Azzairia Jackson-Sherrod added 14 points and eight rebounds. Sophomore center Blair Ripley and junior guard Allison Chernow rounded out the double-digit scorers with 12 and 11 points, respectively.

Trailing 22-20 at halftime, the Eagles began the second half with a slow start. The Stormy Petrels took a 37-30 lead off a pair of triples and a layup. But the Eagles fought back with an 8-1 run of their own powered by Jackson-Sherrod who accounted for four points individually.

Chernow reads an Oglethorpe-filled court. The Eagles fell 71-62 to the Stormy Petrels on Nov. 11. Matthew Barrett/Contributing Writer

Tied 38-38 at the start of the final frame, the back-and-forth battle between the Eagles and the Stormy Petrels continued. Each three, layup and free throw was matched by the opposing team throughout the fourth quarter.

With just under a minute remaining, Oglethorpe held a slim 56-55 advantage over Emory. A well-timed and-one layup by Oldshue following a timeout swapped the lead in the Eagles’ favor with 11 seconds left in regulation. However, Oglethorpe’s Taylor Dodson received two free throws off a debatable foul with three seconds remaining. Dodson cooly sank both shots.

Again, tied with a score of 58-58, turnovers, fouls and a long scoring drought ultimately ended the Eagles’ chance of winning. Emory struggled with five turnovers and failed to score for over a four-minute stretch in the overtime period, while Oglethorpe drilled three field goals and six free throws to secure their win 71-62.

Head Coach Misha Jackson saw positive aspects of the Eagles’ game, but hopes for more consistency in the future.

“Basketball is a game of runs, and we just didn’t put them together,” Jackson said. “Defensively, we had some good stops, but we traded too many baskets back and forth. We need to have consecutive stops. That’s how you will win ball games.”

Senior center Ashley Oldshue attempts a free throw against Oglethorpe. Oldshue led the way for the Eagles with a game-high 15 points and 10 rebounds, notching her 12th double-double. Matthew Barrett/Contributing Writer

Oldshue also applauded the team’s defensive efforts but said there is room for improvement.

“I thought we had a great defensive night,” Oldshue said. “Holding a team to 58 points in regular time is a pretty good night, and even with that, we still gave up way too many offensive rebounds. However, we can’t only score 58 points over four quarters.”

Despite the loss, Oldshue said the team has potential.

“I think we need to be more confident in what works for us and not stray away from that just because it’s game day,” Oldshue added. “We have to find a way to use all of our strengths together on offense if we want a conference championship and a trip to the tournament in the spring.”

The Eagles handle the Oglethorpe defense on Nov. 11 at the WoodPEC. Matthew Barrett/Contributing Writer

Jackson echoed Oldshue’s thoughts and eyes development as the season progresses.

“Our goal is to get better every day and compete for everything,” Jackson said. “I think we know this can be a really good season for us. We just have to focus on playing our way.”

The Eagles look to bounce back on Nov. 17 against Virginia Wesleyan University at the Guilford College Tip-Off Classic in Greensboro, N.C.

The No. 18 Emory men’s basketball team opened their regular season with an electrifying 98-80 win on the road against Piedmont College (Ga.) after an exhibition game against the University of North Georgia on Nov. 4.

The Eagles jumped to a commanding 44-32 lead in the first half with 11 points from sophomore forward Matt Davet and nine from senior forward Gebereal Baitey, as the Eagles went on to force 13 first-half turnovers which Emory converted into 17 points. Sophomore guard Matthew Schner compiled an impressive four steals over the first 20 minutes of the game while the Eagles built up their first-half lead.

Early in the second half, the Eagles built up a 54-43 lead before going on a nine-point run sparked by a three-pointer from hot-handed Davet that allowed the Eagles to reestablish a 20-point lead with about 14 minutes left in regulation.

With about nine minutes left on the clock, the Eagles held a comfortable 75-53 lead over the Lions before going on a 12-5 run sparked by Baitey, which created Emory’s largest lead of the game.

Head Coach Jason Zimmerman said that while he was happy with the team’s win, the team needs to work on keeping up the energy.

“I thought we executed fairly well for about 32 to 33 minutes of the game,” Zimmerman said. “We’re looking forward to making it 40 minutes for sure. I don’t think it was necessarily the first 30. There were a couple spells where we kind of lost our focus, but for the most part I thought we sustained our focus throughout the game.”

Regarding the players’ performances, Zimmerman said he was impressed by the team’s versatility.

“We had five guys reach double figures, and they all got there different ways,” Zimmerman said.

Of the Eagles’ high-flying offense, Davet led the team with 25 points, followed by 16 points each from Baitey and sophomore forward Lawrence Rowley. Rowley’s 16 points also marked a career high. Sophomores Nick Stuck and Schner also hit double figures on the night, with each scoring 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Baitey said that his biggest takeaway from the game was the team’s need to develop their defense and stay disciplined.

“The pace we play at will make it very hard for teams to stick with us if we remain disciplined and focused,” Baitey said. “We saw that we can score points, but the different-maker for us this year will be how well we defend other teams. Especially ones that are more skilled than Piedmont.”

The Eagles will see action on the road again on Nov. 16 when they face off against the College of Staten Island (N.Y.) in the Roanoke College (Va.) Tournament.

The Sacramento Kings routed the Atlanta Hawks on Nov. 1  at the newly renovated State Farm Arena in downtown Atlanta. The 146-115 loss brings the Hawks to a season record of 2-6 while the Kings improve to 6-3.

The Kings led the Hawks 69-64 by the end of the first half with high energy on the defensive end, forcing 13 Hawks turnovers and racking up nine steals. Rookie point guard Trae Young had a team-high of five turnovers in the first half.

The Kings started off strong in the third quarter, outscoring the Hawks 46-23 en route to a 115-87 lead. Sacramento scored 31 more points in the fourth quarter with most of their starters on the bench.

Hawks Head Coach Lloyd Pierce noted that defense was the Hawks’ main weakness this season.

“We know what we can do,” Pierce said in a postgame interview. “You take our stat sheet out and it looks pretty good. So you know there are things that are there when we play well. We’ve got to figure out how to do it on the defensive end.”

The Kings were unstoppable offensively, scoring several fast break baskets, many of them after one of the Hawks’ 22 turnovers. Throughout the game, the Kings infiltrated the paint at will, usually converting inside or dishing back out for a three-pointer. The team finished the game with 38 assists.

The Hawks shot poorly from the three-point line, making only eight of 31 three-point field goal attempts. They also missed 11 free throws, going 23-34 from the line. Point guard Jeremy Lin led the Hawks in scoring, dropping 23 points in 23 minutes off the bench. Young had 14 points and 10 assists, but made zero three-pointers and eight turnovers in only 27 minutes.

Lin acknowledged that the team has often struggled in the third quarter this season and that they frequently find themselves playing behind.

“We just struggled,” Lin said in a postgame interview. “I felt like we ran out of gas or it just didn’t feel like our spirit was there today. … If you don’t have the spirit [and] if you don’t have the defense, your offense won’t flow as well and you’re not going to get wins in this league.”

The promising young backcourt duo of Buddy Hield and De’Aaron Fox led the Kings’ offense. Hield, a third-year shooting guard out of the University of Oklahoma, scored 27 points on 10 of 17 shooting, including five of seven from three-point range. Fox, the Kings’ point guard and top draft pick out of the University of Kentucky in the 2017 NBA Draft, recorded a monster triple-double, scoring 31 points, dishing out 15 assists and grabbing 10 rebounds in the win.

The Kings have surprised most of the league this season and are currently the fifth seed in the stacked Western Conference; they are fourth in the league in points per game at 119.8 and boast the fifth-highest defensive rating at 107.8.

The Hawks bounced back on Nov. 3 against the Miami Heat, winning 123-118. Young had a solid game, scoring 24 points, dishing out a career-high 15 assists and grabbing five rebounds in the win.

The latest game puts him in elite company, as Young becomes one of four rookies in the past 25 years with a stat line of at least 20/15/5. The other four rookies are reigning Kia Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons, two-time NBA MVP Steph Curry and NBA veteran Ramon Sessions.

The Hawks fell back into the loss column against the Charlotte Hornets on Nov. 6, losing 113-102. Hornets’ star point guard Kemba Walker continued his hot start to the season, recording 29 points and 7 assists. Young impressed again, posting another double-double with 18 points and 11 assists.

Young currently leads all rookies in assists with 7.9 per game and is second to only Dallas Mavericks’ forward Luka Dončić in points per game with 19.1.

The Hawks will play on Nov. 7 at 7:30 p.m. against the New York Knicks at State Farm Arena.

The Atlanta Hawks defeated the San Antonio Spurs in an exhilarating preseason matchup at McCamish Pavilion at the Georgia Institute of Technology on Oct. 10, with the game’s winner determined in a thrilling last-minute shot from the Hawks.

Hawks rookie point guard Trae Young sealed the deal to the eventful game by making a 30-foot three-pointer that turned the 127-127 tie into the Hawks’ 130-127 lead with just two seconds left to play. The Spurs’ last-second three bounced off the back rim and out, giving the Hawks the win.

Young said the game-winning shot gave him flashbacks to his time at the University of Oklahoma, where people likened his game to two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry.

“The deep shot, when it went in, I definitely had a little flashback to some of the shots I took at Oklahoma,” Young said.Hawks small forward Taurean Prince sparked the Hawks offense early on, scoring 16 of the team’s 32 first-quarter points on 7-8 shooting from the floor.

Hawks Head Coach Lloyd Pierce said after the game that Prince was “as good as [he has] ever seen him play.”

The Spurs controlled much of the first half, but Hawks guard Tyler Dorsey nailed a long two as time expired to bring the halftime score to 64-62 in favor of San Antonio.

The Hawks exploded out of the gate in the third quarter, going on a 15-0 run that helped set the tone for the rest of the game. The Hawks entered the final frame up 100-92.

The Spurs took advantage of several Hawks turnovers and made a comeback in the final quarter with about four minutes left in the game with an 11-0 run that tied the game up at 116.

Young also credited the team’s chemistry for their success on the court.

“We’ve only played a few games with each other, and we feel like we know everything about each other’s games,” Young said. “It’s a great thing.”

Though the regular season hasn’t started yet, Pierce said that he’s learned a lot from his team thus far.

“I think the guys are starting to believe how we want to play,” Pierce said. “There were simple reads, simple plays. To me, that’s the biggest thing. They’re buying in and they’re trusting each other.”

Young started the game ice-cold, scoring his first bucket three minutes into the second quarter. Despite the rough start, he bounced back and finished with 22 points and seven assists, shooting 4-8 from behind the three-point line. Prince ended the game with 25 points on 9-11 shooting for Atlanta.

Despite the loss, the Spurs had nice contributions from a number of players. Forward Rudy Gay  had 28 points on 10-15 shooting from the field, including 3-6 from beyond the three-point arc, while teammate guard Bryn Forbes scored 22 points off the bench.

The Hawks lost their final preseason matchup to the Miami Heat, 119-113 on Oct. 12. Their regular season begins on Oct. 17 against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.