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NBA highlights on Nov. 5: Murray shines as Hawks beat Pelicans

Dejounte Murray (#5) of the Atlanta Hawks penetrates in the game against the New Orleans Pelicans at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, November 5, 2022. /CFP

Dejounte Murray (#5) of the Atlanta Hawks penetrates in the game against the New Orleans Pelicans at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, November 5, 2022. /CFP

Dejounte Murray (#5) of the Atlanta Hawks penetrates in the game against the New Orleans Pelicans at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, November 5, 2022. /CFP

The Atlanta Hawks defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 124-121 in overtime (OT) at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, on Saturday, to secure their second straight win.

Trae Young of the Hawks dominated the court in the first three quarters in which he scored 32 points and seven assists. His incredible ability to punish big defenders in mismatches forced the Pelicans to cut Jonas Valanciunas’ time to less than 26 minutes on Saturday night despite a double-double of 13 points and 17 rebounds, including seven on the offensive glass, he had.

In fact, even though the Pelicans used a small-ball squad in which agile big men Zion Williamson or Larry Nance Jr. played as center, for longer than usual, they still couldn’t contain Young, especially from stepping to the free throw line 13 times in the first three quarters. Young’s teammates were doing well when he was resting on the bench. After De’Andre Hunter assisted Clint Capela to finish a dunk at 4:51 in the fourth quarter, the Hawks led by 13 points (103-90).

Trae Young (#11) of the Atlanta Hawks shoots in the game against the New Orleans Pelicans at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, November 5, 2022. /CFP

Trae Young (#11) of the Atlanta Hawks shoots in the game against the New Orleans Pelicans at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, November 5, 2022. /CFP

Trae Young (#11) of the Atlanta Hawks shoots in the game against the New Orleans Pelicans at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, November 5, 2022. /CFP

Then there came the turning point. Young shot 0-for-7 from the field in the fourth quarter and OT since he came back. Though some of his shots were not reasonable, it’s hard to criticize his decision-making because that’s how he has been playing since he entered the NBA in 2018. When he could make those shots, he was unstoppable, which, unfortunately, was not the case in Saturday’s game.

The Pelicans seized the opportunity to launch a quick counterstrike, driving a 12-0 run in two minutes. Williamson and Herbert Jones turned every of the opponents’ missed shot and turnovers into fast break. After Jones helped Williamson finish an alley-oop at 1:47, the Pelicans gained the lead 107-105.

Dejounte Murray (#5) of the Atlanta Hawks drives toward the rim in the game against the New Orleans Pelicans at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, November 5, 2022. /CFP

Dejounte Murray (#5) of the Atlanta Hawks drives toward the rim in the game against the New Orleans Pelicans at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, November 5, 2022. /CFP

Dejounte Murray (#5) of the Atlanta Hawks drives toward the rim in the game against the New Orleans Pelicans at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, November 5, 2022. /CFP

That’s when Dejounte Murray stood out to save the day for the Hawks. He made two jumpers in the rest of the fourth quarter, dragging the game into OT. Then he scored four points and one assist in the first 90 seconds, placing his team on a four-point lead (115-111) during OT. Though Young didn’t score any points, he delivered three assists to help the Hawks maintain their lead until the end.

Murray’s performance again highlighted how correct the Hawks’ decision to trade for him during the offseason was. His presence enabled the team to have the second go-to-guy for playmaking and scoring key shots when Young was not himself. The 22 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists of Murray on Saturday night was the first triple-double he had as a Hawk.

Zion Williamson (#1) of the New Orleans Pelicans drives toward the rim in the game against the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, November 5, 2022. /CFP

Zion Williamson (#1) of the New Orleans Pelicans drives toward the rim in the game against the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, November 5, 2022. /CFP

Zion Williamson (#1) of the New Orleans Pelicans drives toward the rim in the game against the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, November 5, 2022. /CFP

By contrast, the Pelicans again paid during the run-in to digest the return of Williamson. He apparently has a lot to contribute offensively, but the team has to figure out how to exploit Williamson’s advantage without throwing away what they did well last season. For example, Williamson could dribble and distribute the ball – he had four assists in Saturday’s game – but he also committed seven turnovers. Furthermore, he and Valanciunas had to compete for space in the paint on many occasions but Williamson can’t replace Williamson’s defensive role at the moment.

Brandon Ingram poses another challenge with all the muscles he put on during the offseason. His growth in size is real, but so is his slower movement. His shooting is affected too, like everyone else who went through a weight change. The Pelicans should be happy to see that Ingram became more fearless in charging the paint and was able to deliver seven assists with one turnover, but they would want him to do better than going 5-for-18 in jumpers.

Other games on Saturday (away teams come first):

De'Aaron Fox (#5) of the Sacramento Kings shoots to make a buzzer beater in the game against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, November 5, 2022. /CFP

De’Aaron Fox (#5) of the Sacramento Kings shoots to make a buzzer beater in the game against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, November 5, 2022. /CFP

De’Aaron Fox (#5) of the Sacramento Kings shoots to make a buzzer beater in the game against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, November 5, 2022. /CFP

Sacramento Kings 126-123 Orlando Magic

De’Aaron Fox showed people he could be a qualified leader for the Kings, by not only helping his team overcome an 18-point deficit left from the first half, but also making the first buzzer beater from downtown in OT. His career 3-point shooting stats have not been impressive and he went 1-for-6 before the decisive moment at Amway Center in Saturday’s game.

Perhaps that’s why Jalen Suggs didn’t pressure him too hard when Fox dribbled forward with less than three seconds to go. As a result, Fox had enough time to find his rhythm and adjust his form to shoot from 35 feet away from the hoop and make it.

Despite the loss, the Magic’s rookie Paolo Banchero scored a big double-double of 33 points and 16 rebounds plus four assists in his ninth NBA game. By doing so at 19 years and 359 days old, he became the second-youngest player in league history to get at least points and 15 rebounds in one game after LeBron James.

Kevin Durant (L) of the Brooklyn Nets holds the ball in the game against the Charlotte Hornets at Spectrum Center in Charltte, North Carolina, November 5, 2022. /CFP

Kevin Durant (L) of the Brooklyn Nets holds the ball in the game against the Charlotte Hornets at Spectrum Center in Charltte, North Carolina, November 5, 2022. /CFP

Kevin Durant (L) of the Brooklyn Nets holds the ball in the game against the Charlotte Hornets at Spectrum Center in Charltte, North Carolina, November 5, 2022. /CFP

Brooklyn Nets 98-94 Charlotte Hornets

For the first time this season, the Nets had the taste of winning consecutive games. They probably had mixed feelings about the fact that they did so without Ben Simmons or Kyrie Irving, but the team should be glad because Kevin Durant played less than 27 minutes and shot only 15 field goals (FGs) in the game. Though his 25+points scoring streak ended, Durant didn’t have to overload himself.

This was the seventh loss of the Hornets this season. They were so short-handed that the team had to sign Theo Maledon, a player who was nearly abandoned by the NBA, for urgent use. The good news, as coach Steve Clifford told Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer, is that their All-Star guard LaMelo Ball is extremely close to returning.

Jayson Tatum (#0) of the Boston Celtics shoots in the game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York, November 5, 2022. /CFP

Jayson Tatum (#0) of the Boston Celtics shoots in the game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York, November 5, 2022. /CFP

Jayson Tatum (#0) of the Boston Celtics shoots in the game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York, November 5, 2022. /CFP

Boston Celtics 133-118 New York Knicks

It’s not really big news for the Celtics to beat the Knicks, but the way they did it at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night was amazing. Having shot 27-for-51 from deep, the Celtics set a new franchise record of making 3-pointers in one game. Each of their nine players who appeared in the game drained at least one triple.

The Celtics will need to keep perimeter firepower like this before Robert Williams III comes back from his left knee surgery. According to the 25-year-old elite defender himself, he’s “stepping it up” and even began to dunk again.

Oklahoma City Thunder 94-108 Milwaukee Bucks

Houston Rockets 117-129 Minnesota Timberwolves

San Antonio Spurs 101-126 Denver Nuggets

Portland Trail Blazers 82-102 Phoenix Suns


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