The Atlanta Hawks won’t play another basketball game at home for more than two weeks. On the bright side, the next time the team takes the floor in Atlanta, it will count but, on Thursday, the squad fell at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks in the final preseason tilt by a final score of 108-94.
Atlanta’s performance in the first half dug a hole that would not be emerged from and, even with the preseason caveat, it wasn’t great. The Mavs claimed a 40-23 lead in the early going on the strength of a 122.4 offensive rating that was greatly aided by Atlanta’s defense. In addition, Dennis Schröder scuffled mightily before the halftime break, shooting 2 of 10 and failing to get the Hawks into offensive sets in the speedy way desired by the system.
In truth, there were few positives in a first half that saw the team shoot 35 percent from the floor and commit 12 unsightly turnovers. It should be noted, as well, that the Hawks deployed the same 11-man rotation from Monday, so it wasn’t as if this was a pure situation of digging deep into the bench. In fact, the Mavs were without the vast majority of their veterans and that added to the lack of satisfaction.
With the Hawks trailing by 16 to begin the second half, Schröder did not start and never returned to action. While that was the only notable “shutdown,” the Hawks did deploy both a lineup led by Josh Magette and a “no-PG” lineup including DeAndre’ Bembry and Kent Bazemore while leaving Quinn Cook on the bench early in the fourth quarter before finally inserting him into the proceedings.
Speaking of Bazemore, he was (easily) the bright spot of the evening for the Hawks, scoring 20 points on highly efficient shooting (8-12 FG, 3-5 from three) and generally playing well in grabbing six rebounds and dishing out five assists. In support, there were flashes of effectiveness elsewhere, but in the end, it was never enough to mount a comeback against the Mavs.
The preseason is over and the regular season is here. Keep it locked and stay tuned.