It wasn’t the prettiest of performances, but when the Atlanta Hawks needed him the most, Dejounte Murray made sure to deliver.

The 6’5 guard struggled with his shot throughout the Hawks’ match against the league-leading Boston Celtics, yet the Hawks still managed to force overtime. Come the extra period, Murray flipped the switch and made sure that Atlanta would come away with the much-needed win.

The 27-year-old veteran hit the first basket of the overtime period–a pull-up mid-range jumper over Boston’s 7’2 Kristaps Porzingis–and did not look back from there on out. On the Hawks’ next two possessions, he proceeded to hit two more shots that were quite similar in nature, against Porzingis as well, to give them a brief three-point lead, 118-115.

Boston zoomed ahead though by a point, 119-118, over the next 90 seconds, but Murray responded with a three-pointer to put Atlanta back on top with two minutes left to play. The Celtics battled back and reclaimed a one-point lead, 122-121, with seven seconds left in overtime to set the stage for one last heroic shot from Murray.


The one-time NBA All-Star isolated on Boston’s five-time All-NBA Defensive Team guard Jrue Holiday and dribbled his way into yet another difficult mid range shot. This jumper–his 44th shot attempt of the evening–found the bottom of the net with only 0.1 seconds remaining to give Atlanta its second win in three days against the mighty Celtics. He wound up scoring a total of 11 points during overtime, single-handedly outscoring the entire Boston squad who managed to put up only 10.

Murray finished the match with a career-best 44 points on 18-of-44 field goal shooting, including six-of-19 three-pointers. He also had seven rebounds, seven assists, two steals and a block.

The 44 shots that Murray attempted put him in a historic group as only Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Chris Webber, and Russell Westbrook have put up that many attempts over the course of a single NBA game in the last 31 years.


These types of performances have become quite typical for Murray in recent weeks as he has put the Hawks on his shoulders since a finger injury sidelined their three-time NBA All-Star Trae Young last month. In Atlanta’s 17 games since Young’s injury, Murray has taken over the primary point guard duties for this team and is averaging 26.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, nine assists, and 2.1 steals during this stretch.

While his shooting percentages from the field have been far from pretty, the elite offensive rebounding that starting center Clint Capela provides more than makes up for it.

More importantly, the Hawks have gone 10-7 in Young’s absence, including their ongoing four-game winning streak, which has helped them maintain their place in the race for one of the East’s play-in tournament berths.

The backcourt pairing of Murray and Young has yet to yield the results that Atlanta expected when they brought in the former via a trade last June 2022. Many questioned their fit as two ball-dominant players when the trade was first announced and these concerns have proven to be quite justified in the 20 months since. Murray’s production in the absence of Young has only helped prove this point and it will be interesting to see if their front office finally decides to hit the reset button this coming offseason.

In the meantime though, these Hawks have been quite an exciting group to watch with Murray running the show and their recent success against the Celtics suggests that they have the potential to pull off an upset or two come the postseason. Their surprise run to the 2021 Eastern Conference Finals comes to mind and this group has the tools, though the odds remain low, to duplicate this run.

Anything is possible if Murray continues to play at this blistering pace and the more that they succeed without Young on the floor, the more difficult this upcoming offseason will be for this team.