Image courtesy of ABC News
The Atlanta Hawks beat the New Orleans Pelicans Friday night by a score of 126-103. With their most injury-riddled gameday roster of the year, the Hawks needed guys to step up, and the backcourt did exactly that. Bogdan Bogdanovic continued his excellent run of play, going for 26 points, including 6-11 from downtown. He also contributed with seven rebounds and seven assists. Kevin Huerter added 24 in a big bounce-back performance. After a rough game last time out, Kevin was an efficient 10 of 15 from the floor. Off the bench, new acquisition Lou Williams was a huge spark, with 19 points and eight assists. Even with these three outstanding individual performances, this was not a dominant game for Atlanta until the second half.
With both the Hawks and the Pelicans starting their far-from-usual lineups, there was no rhythm in the game to start. New Orleans was without Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson, and Steven Adams. At the same time, Atlanta had to make do with no Trae Young, Kris Dunn, Cam Reddish, De’Andre Hunter, John Collins, or Danilo Gallinari. Both teams were also on the second night of back-to-backs. The Pelicans had lost in overtime at home to Orlando, while the Hawks won a double-overtime thriller in San Antonio. With the lack of health for both teams and the fact that the Hawks were wrapping up an eight-game road trip, it was not very surprising to see the choppy beginning to this matchup. After a quarter, the Pels held a six-point lead, but the Hawks scrapped to win the second frame by seven and take a one-point lead into the break.
With the Hawks traveling after such a late, hard-fought win, it would have been tough to battle for 48 minutes. Luckily, they didn’t have to. Atlanta opened the second half on a 12-2 run and never looked back. With Huerter, Bogdanovic, and Williams in control of the offense, the Hawks went for 39 in the third, winning the quarter by 14 points. The Hawks did an outstanding job of never letting the Pelicans regain hope, keeping them at bay for the rest of the contest en route to a blowout victory. In the second half, the offense stepped up, but the defense was equally impressive. The Hawks forced the Pels into many contested jumpers, and Clint Capela, per usual, was a beast in the paint with six blocks and ten boards. His understudy Onyeka Okongwu was equally impressive with nine boards and two blocks himself. Hopefully the Hawks can keep up the success on both ends of the floor when they take on the Golden State Warriors Sunday at home, and if the guys who stepped up can continue their work when the regulars return, Atlanta can be a dangerous, dangerous team.