The Atlanta Hawks are trying to pull themselves out of what has been a season-long funk and picked up a big win in their quest to do so on Sunday as they beat the Denver Nuggets 123-115 at home to move to 13-17 on the season.
The Hawks had expectations of a playoff berth coming into this season in large part due to spending big in free agency on Bogdan Bogdanovic, Danilo Gallinari, and Rajon Rondo, among other smaller signings. Unfortunately, just about every player they signed this offseason has been on the shelf for various injuries, with Bogdanovic and Rondo currently out, Kris Dunn having missed the entire season, and Gallinari still working his way back into form.
Gallinari has struggled to find his consistent form that made him such a key piece of the Thunder’s playoff team last year, and has looked especially slow on the ball, even understanding he’s never been a particularly quick player. One of the best examples of Gallinari’s struggles to create space in isolation came on Monday with one of the funniest sequences you’ll ever see, as he attempts to draw a foul on a three, gets stripped instead, grabs the ball, pulls up for a shot, reconsiders and throws himself a pass off of the backboard, and stumbles, somehow, into a foul as he falls down.
Gallinari shows his whole bag of moves pic.twitter.com/fWTI3wbJwT
— Fastbreak Breakfast (@fastbreakbreak) February 22, 2021
On principle, the referees should not have rewarded this effort with free throws, but kudos to Gallinari for the persistence and effort, I guess. He finished the game with 12 points and five rebounds in 21 minutes of play, as he continues to be eased back into the rotation, and the Hawks will need him to find his form as the season wears on, particularly given their depth issue on the wing due to injuries. Once fully healthy, one would expect him to look much more like the Gallinari of old, but for now, he should maybe take it easy on isolation attempts.