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The Atlanta Hawks dazzled the crowd and won in style, 116-102 over the New Orleans Pelicans. This was the Hawks first action in preseason as the Pelicans were playing a back-to-back game.
Atlanta started the game full of energy from the start. There was a certain type of confidence that the Hawks displayed.
The Hawks produced 32 assist in the game showcasing a fast and rapid pace. “To produce 32 assist which we tried to emphasize with touches, ball movement and body movement and see it on the first go-around is great,” stated coach Llloyd Pierce.
John Collins got going early scoring eight points going 4-5, which the one miss came from an alley-oop attempt from DeAndre Bembry that Collins caught behind his head and rimmed out. Collins ended up with 16 first half points.
Rookie Trae Young started out slow going 1-10 in the first half but had six assist. “The first half [I] was just trying to figure out how to get a good rhythm and a good feel,” stated Young.
Young got the crowd going late in the second quarter. He drove to the rim and threw the ball off the backboard to Collins for the slam. “We’ve actually been working on that a couple of times in practice and I saw it and got it,” stated Collins.
Meanwhile, the Pelicans power forward Anthony Davis and guard Jrue Holiday seemed like they were in mid-season form. Davis led the Pelicans in scoring in the first half with 16 points and Holiday added 13 points. They did not play the second half.
Early in the second half, (10:27), New Orleans’ forward Julius Randle went up strong for a layup and got fouled and landed hard on the landing on his tailbone. He had to exit the game but later returned to the bench
Young finally hit a three-pointer at the 9:27 mark sparking a 18-4 run pushing the score 69-61. The rookie point guard scored seven during that stretch. Young finished with 11 points after going 4-6 from the floor and led the team with eight assist.
The Hawks never looked back after that.
Bembry led all scorers with 20 points going 7-14 from the field.”I feel like overall, I’m in a better place physically and mentally. I just tried to come out and be aggressive and be the player that I am,” said Bembry.
Rookie Kyle Huerter scored on two points on 1-5 shooting in 19 minutes. Rookie forward Omari Spellman didn’t dress for the game.
The Hawks next preseason game is Friday in Memphis against the Grizzlies.