The Hawks got off to a good start, with the highlight of the first quarter being Al Horford's pair of 3-pointers. He led the Hawks in scoring for the quarter with 8. Just as they did in the Pistons game, the Hawks went 10 players deep in the first quarter, with Tiago Splitter, Justin Holiday, Lamar Patterson, Dennis Schroder, and Mike Scott all making appearances. Robin Lopez went on an early tear, matching Al Horford's 8 points with 8 of his own. The Hawks led 30-20 at the end of the quarter.
The Knicks started off the second quarter on an 11-0 run that lasted until an Al Horford basket with 7:37 left in the quarter. The Hawks were able to get it together from there on, and close out the quarter in a much stronger fashion. Consecutive threes from Lamar Patterson and Dennis Schroder forced a Knicks timeout, and the Hawks were able to hold and extend their lead once again to close out the half up 61-45. Carmelo Anthony shot just 3-of-11 for the half, with 7 points.
The third quarter belonged to Jeff Teague. Teague had 11 straight Hawks points in the quarter, making everything look easy before being taken out with just under five minutes left in the quarter. The only issue the Hawks really had was on the offensive glass, which really showed in the quarter. Through the game up until the end of the third quarter, the Knicks had grabbed 14 of them. The Knicks went on a 12-2 run late in the third to narrow the Hawks lead to 81-69 after being down as many as 22 points. Atlanta closed out the quarter with an 84-72 lead.
Both teams were pretty balanced in the fourth quarter, trading baskets back and fourth for much of the period. Dennis Schroder and Jeff Teague both had 6 points apiece. Carmelo Anthony had 10 points in the quarter, getting 4 points from the free throw line. Edy Tavares also made his NBA debut with less than two minutes remaining in the quarter, where he grabbed a rebound, and knocked down 1-of-2 free throws. The Hawks would finish off the game, winning 112-101.
3 things we learned:
1. Something is definitely up with Tim Hardaway Jr. Out of all of the Atlanta Hawks we saw enter the game as early as the first quarter in this game, Hardaway was not one of them. The Hawks acquired Hardaway on draft night, after originally having the 15th overall pick, trading back twice to get him from New York. Hardaway was inactive for the first game, and while suited up for this one, saw no action.
So what could be the issue? Hardaway doesn't seem that he would be hurt, and you would think that a player the Hawks gave up their first round pick for would be on the floor, but he has yet to be seen. There are plenty of things to speculate, but it will be interesting to see what information, if any comes out regarding the lack of appearances from Hardaway, although we are just two games into the season.
2. Lamar Patterson will play a key role. Through two games, with Hardaway's lack of minutes has come plenty from Lamar Patterson, somebody that most people did not expect to see this much of. We all know Patterson as the Hawks star from the Las Vegas Summer League, but he has shown improvement in his game even since then, and put in a good contribution against the Knicks.
In hindsight, it makes sense seeing how much more controlled he appears to be now, since he is playing with NBA talent, and isn't fighting for a spot on the roster. Now, he's just fitting in, and looks to be a really good third option at point guard behind Jeff Teague and Dennis Schroder. If he can continue to make the most of his minutes, it'll be interesting to see the long-term effect he will have on Teague and Schroder, as you would hope that the addition of solid play by Patterson would help keep the other guys fresh when needed.
3. The perimeter defense could sharpen up a bit. The Hawks weren't plagued by a good 3-point shooting game like they were against the Pistons in this one, but the Knicks were able to get good looks, they just weren't able to convert. The Knicks shot 6-for-29 from beyond the arc, good for just over 20 percent.
It's early in the season, and team chemistry will improve over time, but it might be something to watch early on in the season. This has probably been where we have missed the presence of DeMarre Carroll the most in the infancy of the season, but the mold will work itself out as we chug along.