“The energy in the building tonight had a playoff atmosphere.”

Those are the words of veteran Vince Carter after the Hawks 123-118 win over the Heat at State Farm Arena on Saturday night. It shows that a rebuilding process doesn’t always have to be painful especially when young players learn how to play as one unit.

The Hawks had exceptional cohesive ball movement leading to 33 assists on 46 made field goals. Trae Young had 15 of those assists, to go along with 24 points and five rebounds. Young is the first rookie to have such a game in NBA history.

“When everybody’s touching it, having joy, having some fun out there, I think it’s a big key,” the star rookie said.

Young dished the rock right from the start, with the opening two made baskets coming off his assists to Alex Len and Omari Spellman. It jump-started a 41 point first quarter for the Hawks with a 10 point lead. In all, the Hawks had 22 first-half assists.

“The reason we were together defensively and offensively is that we had 22 assists in the first half, “Coach Lloyd Pierce said.

“It just brings energy” Pierce added.

That energy jolted the Hawks to a 14 point lead in the third quarter.

But Miami went on a 15-6 run in the third quarter, ended by a momentum-changing Young floater at the buzzer heading into the fourth.

Josh Richardson led the Heat with 32 points. But it was Dwyane Wade (on his goodbye tour) and his fourth-quarter play which helped Miami cut the Hawks lead to just three with under 10 minutes left in the fourth. Wade finished with 19 points in 27 minutes.

It then became the battle of the throwbacks, as Carter gave the Hawks a 114-111 lead on a putback jam, reminding the 16,000 fans in attendance of his Raptors days. It was a huge play made by a veteran helping guiding the next generation of would-be stars learns how to win in the NBA.

“Vince is the man,” Young said. “You can tell by the bench’s reactions, by the fans’ reactions. It’s crazy.”

In yet another high scoring game for the Hawks, it was the defensive effort, which helped them earn their third win of the season.

The Heat did not score in the final three minutes of the game.

“That was huge,” said Hawks rookie, Kevin Heurter. “We just tried to force them into tough shots. Rebounding was the emphasis with us towards the end of the game.”

The win ends a four-game losing streak for Atlanta. Though, what’s more important is the hope a win like this gives a team on the slow incline to success. They outlasted a team with playoff aspirations in the fourth quarter of the tight contest.

“These are games that we need to experience and go through,” Carter said.

The Hawks head to Charlotte to face the Hornets on Tuesday before returning to Atlanta for two home games with Knicks and Pistons. Next Sunday, they head to Los Angeles to face Lebron James and the new-look Lakers.

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