Dejounte Murray knows very well why the Atlanta Hawks collapsed against the San Antonio Spurs and blew out their massive lead: they got comfortable, and they gave Gregg Popovich's men confidence.
Murray admitted as much while talking to reporters following their 126-118 loss to the Spurs. The 26-year-old shared that they didn't play hard enough thinking that the lead they have built is safe enough, only to be proven wrong.
For those who missed it, the Hawks went up by as much as 24 points early in the third quarter of the game, but they saw that lead disappear in 23 minutes after they scored just 35 points in the whole second half. San Antonio used a 39-20 third quarter to cut the deficit to just three points entering the final quarter before completing the comeback.
“The first half, we played well and got comfortable. And one thing about the Spurs, they are going to play hard for 48 minutes…We gave them confidence and they got a win they well-deserved,” Murray said of the loss, per Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News.
Dejounte Murray led the Hawks in scoring with 22, but no other Atlanta player breached the 20-point mark. Trae Young himself finished with just nine points on 4-of-15 shooting from the field.
Atlanta dropped to 35-36 on the season with the defeat, putting them four games behind the sixth seed. With that said, Murray also sent a rather stern message to his teammates, emphasizing that they need to know their “identity” real soon if they want to compete.
“As a collective unit, we've got to figure out that identity of what we're playing for if you really want to win. And you can tell: The teams that really want to win, they buy in,” Murray added, per Bally Sports.
The Hawks play the Detroit Pistons next on Tuesday, and hopes are high that they can bounce back after a rather embarrassing showing.