The Atlanta Hawks were in action to open the season Wednesday night when they made the trip to American Airlines Center in Dallas to face off against the Mavericks. With a new season comes new faces on each team and for the Hawks everyone contributed as coach Budenholzer ran out 12 guys in the first half.
The Hawks were mostly healthy on Wednesday evening as Nico Brussino and newly signed Isaiah Taylor were the only healthy scratches. Miles Plumlee is still dealing with a quad issue that is expected to keep him out at least another week. Marco Belinelli made his return to the court for the first time since the first preseason game and did not show any lingering effects from his Achilles injury.
Early on, the Hawks got out to a good pace with Dennis Schroder leading the offense in shot attempts. The Hawks top rookie John Collins came in around the middle of the first quarter and posted a quick 8 points and 3 rebounds. Taurean Prince also looked great in the first quarter and showed off his good shooting stroke early.
In the second quarter, the Hawks came out hot and kept the game close with Dallas for a while. The biggest story of the second quarter came about halfway through the period when 27-year-old Josh Magette came in to make his NBA debut and so naturally the Hawks went on a 10-0 run to end the quarter with Magette leading the way and took a 58-47 lead into the halftime break. Dennis Schroder led the Hawks with 16 points in the first half.
The Hawks came out of halftime a little bit sluggish and the Mavericks were able to narrow the margin to three on an offensive outburst from star rookie Dennis Smith Jr. Dallas also got a boost in the third quarter from big man Nerlens Noel and the Hawks got a great effort from veteran Marco Belinelli shooting his way up to 18 points at the end of the third but the game would go into the fourth tied.
It was a see-saw affair to open the fourth quarter as the teams exchanged leads 12 times in the first three quarters. Kent Bazemore was much more active in the fourth than at any other point in the game as he picked off a Dorian Finney-Smith pass and took it to the rack and had a clutch three pointer. Dennis Schroder continued his good night getting to the rack several times past Dallas guard Yogi Ferrell and with five minutes remaining in the game the Hawks and Mavs were tied at 100.
The Hawks and Mavs continued to exchange leads back and forth with Marco Belinelli staying hot in his Atlanta debut. For the Mavs, Wes Matthews caught fire from three and really helped keep them in the game late. It is clear this year that this is Dennis Schroders team and he really stepped up at the end of the game and went on to post 28 points.
There were a lot of positives to take away from this game as the Hawks played great together and Dennis really took the role I believe the Hawks are looking for. Marco Belinelli was phenomenal for the Hawks in his debut and the Hawks walk away winners on opening night. Rookie John Collins posted a great effort off the bench as well with a 14 point, 5-rebound night and, well, he did this.
Anyone up for a John Collins jam counter? pic.twitter.com/UUJE179Ozj— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) October 19, 2017
The Hawks will suit up again on Friday against the Charlotte Hornets and old pal Dwight Howard. We hope we will see you then.