It was an historic day for Atlanta Hawks centre, Onyeka Okongwu, as he recorded a career-high 20 rebounds in Hawks’ 113-111 win over the Indiana Pacers at the Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis on Saturday.
In one of his best performances of the season, Okonguwu scored 18 points, a career-high 20 rebounds (seven offensive), four blocks, four assists and two steals.
All-Star guard Trae Young led the Hawks in scoring with 26 points while De’Andre Hunter had 25 for the Hawks. Young was 6 of 10 from 3-point range and Hunter 6 of 9. Hunter’s six 3-pointers were a career-high.
Okongwu was named the Player of the game as well as the Defensive Player of the game after recording seven offensive rebounds, four blocks and two steals. The 22-year-old also took his career NBA points to 1,001 in the win.
Reacting to the win and his performance, Okongwu said he needed his performance to be better against the Pacers having had a below par performance in the loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday.
“We needed this game badly after our last game (a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks),” Okongwu said. “The last game I wasn’t being aggressive. I got called out by people, family, friends, and coaches. So this game I wanted to make an effort to be aggressive on both ends of the floor.”
With the return date for starting centre Clint Capela still unknown, Okongwu would be hoping to replicate the performance he put up against the Pacers in Indianapolis when they visit Toronto to face the Raptors on Sunday.