NBA Preseason 2012: A tale of two halves for the Hawks, Hornets

Paul Abell-US PRESSWIRE

The Atlanta Hawks flipped the script in the second half and went on to hammer the New Orleans Hornets 97-68.

The Atlanta Hawks won their second game of the 2012 preseason Thursday night when they defeated the New Orleans Hornets 97-68. Atlanta struggled to find any offensive rhythm in the first half and saw their shooting percentage fall to below 30 percent at one point. However, the Hornets weren't much better offensively and couldn't take advantage as they only led by as many as nine points in the first half. Atlanta would rally shortly before the intermission and went into the break tied 40-40.

All those missed shots in the first half enabled the Hornets to run up a 29-17 rebounding advantage through two quarters. Atlanta was able to return the favor in the second half and began the 3rd quarter with a 19-1 run to completely take control of the game. From there, the Hawks were able to keep the Hornets at arms length and cruise home for the victory.

The only bump in the road came in the second half when Jeff Teague suffered an ankle injury. Teague stepped on another player's foot on a drive and left the game and did not return. His status will likely be evaluated on Friday.

More observations from Thrusday's win:

  • Starting lineup watch - Teague, Harris, Stevenson, Smith, and Horford. Provided Teague is healthy, this is my pick as the opening night starting lineup.
  • Kyle Korver and John Jenkins were both inactive for Thursday's game. Korver was given a day off after playing a lot of minutes against Indiana Tuesday. Jenkins sat the game out because of a hand contusion. Damion James, Ivan Johnson and Johan Petro also did not play.
  • Josh Smith and Al Horford look ready for the season to start. Smith led the Hawks with 16 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Horford recorded a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
  • Teague didn't shoot the ball well going 2-8 but did finish with eight points and five assists. Lou Williams hasn't shot the ball well in the last three games but handed out a game-high eight assists to go along with his 11 points.
  • Devin Harris helped spark the Hawks in the second half finishing with 14 points and three assists on 5-8 shooting.
  • Anthony Tolliver played 21 minutes in this game and started the second half at the small forward position. He finished with eight points and two rebounds and was 2-2 from beyond-the-arc. At this point he looks like a safe bet to make the final roster.
  • With Korver out, Anthony Morrow played most of his minutes off the bench at the small forward spot and finished with 15 points and five rebounds.
  • DeShawn Stevenson played in his first preseason action since the opener against Miami. Stevenson wasn't much of a factor finishing with three points and two rebounds in 22 minutes.
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