The Hawks looked impressive in their first preseason game against the New Orleans Pelicans winning 116-102. The ball was moving, John Collins came out aggressive and DeAndre Bembry came out looking like he wanted to play ball this season.
Then came tonight.
Three days of rest, a Taurean Prince illness and ref whistles combined for an ugly game that wasn’t remotely close as the final score indicated. The Hawks lost their first preseason game to Memphis 120-110. It was a game that showed many flaws in the Hawks “process” where mistakes were made on the offensive and defensive end of the floor. Tyler Dorsey led the Hawks with 18 points while getting the start and Trae Young had 15 points and five assists.
Here’s one of them…
The young Hawks, along with the other NBA teams have struggled with the new “freedom of movement” rule that the referees are emphasizing to stop the holding of the offensive players and deterring movement. Boy that was the theme of the first half. Overall 33 fouls were called and 40 foul shots were taken in the first half for both teams. This was tough to watch folks...
Until everybody gets adjusted to the whistles blowing every 30 seconds, it’ll be a parade of players going to the free throw line.
This game was disjointed for the Hawks from basically start to finish. In the beginning it looked like the team could not miss from the three point line, then they went cold. Maybe it was the players that was knocking down the three point shots early was the problem.
Alex Len knocked down a three point shot from both corners and Vince Carter, the ageless one, matched him with two of his own. Nice contributions from both, but these are NOT the players the Hawks need to be knocking down threes on a consistent basis. Trae Young and Kevin Huerter were drafted to take care of such matters along with Kent Bazemore. As a team, the Hawks hit a not so efficient 16-43 from the three point line. Trae Young played more efficient in the first half than he did in the first preseason game as he drove the ball to basket for layups and dished to his teammates. Tyler Dorsey came out with energy and was aggressive from the start and helped the Hawks keep pace with the Grizzlies.
But let’s be clear here, if Alex Len is the leading scorer being the only double digit scorer going into halftime, the Hawks are going to have long nights like these a lot this season. The starters played okay, but the bench was horrid throughout the first half ESPECIALLY on defense. With a team that will struggle to score at times this season, the Hawks cannot afford this type of defensive effort from the bench.
John Collins had only four points and did not come back out in the second half. Alex Poythress came out to play with the starters and basically the game was over at that point. Memphis rolled to a 18 point lead and the Hawks basically did not make a dent in the lead until the last quarter when the Grizzlies fell asleep basically until the game ended.
Hawks lace them again on Sunday against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Storyline here is former starting point guard, Dennis Schroder comes back to play in his old stomping grounds.