This game was frustrating and exciting at the same time but some key growth moments took place all across the board. It's typical for young players or even new rebuilt teams to gain chemistry playing with each other because instinctively everyone is in their " I gotta prove myself state". Even players as great as LeBron and Dwade had to learn how to put egos to the side in order to get to the next level.
It took 44 games in for this young team but I believe this is the game that shows our players how great they can be as a team. When they are moving the ball, playing for each other and on a string, I can see they are starting to realize they can beat anybody. I can see them finally getting out of their egos and because they are playing for each other they are getting better looks and making more shots collectively. Huerter was able to hit that game winner on the Spurs because Hunter decided not to be selfish( or the hero) and get one more pass in. As they continue to do this we will not only win more but we'll look like another team entirely across the board. Not only do I think they are understanding among each other but the Raptors were the perfect team oriented type of team to play against and see good examples on the other side.
Pierce summed up on Hawks Live the game plan but it's up to the players to execute it. When we were doing it we had the lead easily even after a slow start.
I still don't know if we'll make a push for the playoffs because our allstar Trae Young seems intent on throwing close games from time to time (possibly with the draft in mind). Some lapses on decision making and missing key free throws and key shots not just in this game makes me feel this way. For instance Trae could've easily gotten 50pts and the win this game but let some key free throws get away that threw off the rhythm on his shot. Later missing a key 3 pointer that would have really gave us the momentum. I know he understands this is the final year for us as a team to not be in the playoffs and overall he has been consistently phenomenal so I can't nic pick too heavy it just looks suspicious.
Either way if we keep trending this way we have an opportunity to look like a completely different team after All Star break. Barring any other injuries or misfortunes we'll have alot more options with Len and Parker back. As long as they too buy in to playing for each other as a team (talking to you Jabari) we are going to look like a team that people are going to be paying serious attention to as a threat sooner than later.
Starters will probably pan out to be Trae, Cam, Hunter, Collins and Bruno with a bench of Teague, Huerter, Bembry (best locker room vet this season), Parker and Len.
Side note: Bembry is actually doing our team a favor this yr not being able to hit any kind of shot. He has been able to help alot of our young guys grow this yr and has alot of respect in the locker room. I think the team still values him and because of his play we will retain him at a very valued price. After this year if he doesn't come back with a consistent 3pt shot he may not last in the league too long but I'm sure he knows that and will dedicate himself into putting in the work. With Cam and Hunter I know Bembry realizes his value has diminished on his key niche (defense) and he will have to show value in other ways. I'm sure he won't mind being highly discounted if he does get a new contract based on his mediocre play this yr. I know there are many on here that don't want him at all but he is the type of piece you need on a contending team. A hard nose, go all out, key stops in key moments type of player that understands his role.
I think understanding roles for all of our players in general and playing for one another are going to be the key elements in taking our team to the next level. The talent is there but I'm starting to see our guys take egos out the way and play more together which is a key element to substantial growth. We possibly may see a Trae Young like transformation team wise after the allstar break.