The Atlanta Hawks got off to another slow start Wednesday night before righting the ship late in a 106-98 win over a shorthanded Pelicans squad. Slow starts have become a problem of late for Atlanta who fell behind by as many as 12 points in the first half.
"We have to play better coming out early in games and not put us in that kind of hole," head coach Mike Budenholzer said following the game. "There are lots of areas to improve and get better. Obviously, credit to the players for finding a way to play much better in the second half, especially defensively. I think it's good to get a win."
Atlanta trailed by as many as 34 points in Monday's loss to the Timberwolves. The Hawks pulled off a furious second-half rally against Minnesota before running out of gas at the end. The schedule hasn't been kind in terms of the number of games played for Atlanta in the early going, but they are not helping themselves any by falling behind early in games forcing them to expend a lot of energy late.
At the root of that has been opponent's three-point shooting. Opponents are shooting 34 percent from three-point range against Atlanta which is 17th in the league. Opponents are also attempting 27 three-point shots per game against the Hawks which is the fourth most total in the league.
New Orleans made 14 of 29 three-point attempts on Wednesday with 11 of those makes coming in the first half. They made eight in the second quarter alone.
The schedule has limited the amount of available practice days the Hawks have had available to shore up areas. Whatever the reason, it is something that is going to have to be cleaned up soon.
Horford's big first half keeps Hawks close
Al Horford scored 20 of his team-high 26 points in the first half to keep Atlanta within striking distance. Without Anthony Davis available, New Orleans had a difficult time closing out to Horford who knocked down 4 of 6 three-point attempts. Horford is now shooting 33 percent from three-point range on the season.