The first quarter was like the start of a heavyweight title fight with both teams feeling out each other and no great advantage to be found. Memphis was getting the best on the boards and making the Hawks pay for double teaming on defense. The Hawks meanwhile created open shots and forced enough turnovers to be within one at the end of the period.
The second quarter was marked by a quicker whistle slowing the flow of the play (13 fouls in the 2nd compared to only 5 in the 1st). The Grizzlies opened up a six point advantage behind the strong performances by Marc Gasol (14 pts, 6 rebs) and Zack Randolph (12 pts, 9 rebs). Missed free throws and a struggling night by Rudy Gay (2-11 from the field) have kept it from getting out of hand. The Hawks are paced by Josh Smith and Jeff Teague with 9 points each and Al Horford with 8 points. Ivan Johnson provided 6 points off the bench, but guards Devin Harris and Lou Williams have struggled so far.
The Hawks knew going into the game that the paint would be a battleground and at halftime the edge goes to the Grizzlies. At the same time the Hawks are losing the battle from long distance only hitting 2-6 from 3 point range while Memphis went 4-7. If the Hawks can turn either of these categories to their favor in the 2nd half they have a good chance of closing the 6 point gap and stealing a game on the road against the team with the best record in the league.