Atlanta hit the road on Saturday for their second preseason game with a matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies. Things didn't go as well on the scoreboard as they did in the opener with the Hawks falling 93-88 to the Grizzlies. However, it was a productive night for Atlanta who once again went really deep into the bench and were rewarded with some nice individual performances.
To further illustrate, the Hawks are just two games into their preseason schedule and Mike Budenholzer opted to sit Paul Millsap, Jeff Teague and DeMarre Carroll after halftime. Saturday's game was the Grizzlies' third game and Dave Joerger used several of his starters including Mike Conley and Marc Gasol to close the game. Neither way is wrong, its just an example of how teams approach the preseason differently and why wins and losses during the preseason seldom matter.
Here are some more thoughts from Saturday's exhibition game and what to look for during the week ahead.
- Atlanta fell behind early in this one but hung around all the way to the end. Atlanta cut the lead to just two at one juncture in the fourth quarter but couldn't get the stop needed to overtake Memphis.
- Mike Muscala earned the start at center and didn't disappoint finishing with nine points and five rebounds while going 4-7 from the field. If not for the performance of John Jenkins, everyone would be talking about Muscala and his solid start.
- Speaking of Jenkins, he is averaging 14 points per game and is 10-13 from the field in the two exhibition wins. He is 3-5 from three point range and has pulled down nine rebounds combined in the two games. We still don't know what the backcourt rotation will look like this season especially once Kent Bazemore gets back on the court but it appears that Coach Bud has a lot of options at his disposal.
- DeMarre Carroll and Kyle Korver made their preseason debuts and looked a little rusty combining to go 2-11 from the field. Korver missed his first four three-point attempts and finished 1-5 from the floor.
- Thabo Sefolosha went just 2-6 from the field for eight points but was extremely active on the floor. He finished with six rebounds and two blocks and appears to be a nice complement to Carroll off the bench.
- Mike Scott scored all 10 of his points in the second half. He went just 1-4 from three-point range but added six rebounds and four assists but was also saddled with four turnovers.
- I already talked some about Shelvin Mack and Dennis Schröder but to further illustrate the two combined for 25 points and 11 assists. They went 8-13 from the field including 4-6 from three-point range. Some of what we saw from Schröder this summer in international play carried over to this game as he was able to get himself to the free throw line where he went 5-6.
- Dexter Pittman made his preseason debut and finished with two points and two rebounds in just under nine minutes. Jarrell Eddie came off the bench during the second half but was held scoreless going 0-2 from the field.
- The Hawks have a full slate of games scheduled for the upcoming week. They will be in Miami to take on the Heat on Tuesday and follow that up with another road game in Chicago on Thursday. They return to Philips Arena on Saturday to take on the Detroit Pistons.
- Al Horford, Pero Antic and Kent Bazemore are on their way back and could make their preseason debuts at some point this week. Atlanta has five preseason games remaining and the rotation should start to tighten as the exhibition slate moves along. Atlanta will open the regular season on Wednesday, October 29 in Toronto.