Dejounte Murray highlights the ‘greatest’ lesson from Hawks’ win over Grizzlies as he taunts Memphis

Dejounte Murray delivered a career performance for the Atlanta Hawks, and he cited something else as the “best” part of the victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Memphis Flyer | Second-Half Struggles Lead to Grizzlies' Loss to Hawks

Dejounte Murray of the Atlanta Hawks (29-34) equaled his career high with 41 points in a 99-92 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on March 8.

He had seven rebounds, six assists, and two steals in the game, while committing only two turnovers. Murray, on the other hand, identified the group’s collective effort on the other side of the floor as the game’s most important takeaway.

“I made shots tonight; it’s always great to make shots,” Murray told reporters. “I believe the best part is simply playing together, with your teammates looking for you or you seeking for them, trying to make the proper play. And, obviously, on defense, we limited them to what, 92 points tonight? You don’t see that in the NBA today, so I believe that’s the best takeaway from tonight’s game.”

Over the past seven games, the Hawks have had three of their top defensive performances in terms of points allowed.

This season, they’ve held opponents to less than 100 points only three times.

They are undefeated in those games. This was the Hawks’ first win this season in which they scored less than 100 points. Furthermore, the Hawks are 14-1 this season while holding opponents to 114 points or less.

It’s safe to assume they wouldn’t have beaten even a decimated Grizzlies club without Murray, who has stepped up in the absence of three-time All-Star Trae Young.

“Just taking what the game gives me,” Murray explained. “I’m always trying to keep my teammates confident, and no matter if they make or miss shots, I tell them to keep going. And especially if they took good photographs. Wide open? You always take. And if you don’t, Coach has been preaching the second and third acts every day.

“Just keeping everybody involved, not just myself, playing together, playing the team way.”

Dejounte Murray is on a tear for the Hawks without Trae Young

The Hawks saw three other players reach double-digit points that night, but none were as effective as Murray.

Murray shot 68% from the floor and was 6-for-10 from beyond the arc. Perhaps most amazingly, he only tried one free shot during the night. It’s the 12th time this season he hasn’t attempted multiple free throws.

The rest of the Hawks shot 32.2% from the field, including 9-of-25 from beyond the arc.

With Young absent for the past seven games, Murray is averaging 24.3 points, 8.4 assists, 6.1 rebounds, and 1.4 steals.

That undoubtedly speaks good for the Hawks, who will have to navigate life without him for the next two weeks before he is reevaluated. They are now 4.0 games ahead of the Brooklyn Nets, which slightly mitigates the impact of their back-to-back losses last week.

Murray also scored well with Young on the floor.

Prior to Young’s injury, he averaged 23.4 points in his previous 22 games. However, the Hawks have only gone 9-10 in their last 19 games together.

The best outcome would be for the Hawks to demonstrate that this defensive improvement is not due to who they are facing or who is missing from their team. If they can maintain this level of performance when Young, Jalen Johnson, and Onyeka Okongwu return, they will not be a popular postseason draw.

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