Ahead of Monday’s game, common sense indicated that it could be a sort of “dress rehearsal” for the Atlanta Hawks. Given that the team will face off against the Dallas Mavericks (Atlanta’s opponent for the regular season opener) on Thursday, the contest against the Memphis Grizzlies seemed to be the perfect spot for Mike Budenholzer to flex his normal rotation a bit.
In short, that is exactly what transpired on Monday evening. While it wasn’t a flawless outing by any means, Atlanta deployed something of a “regular” rotation and, in the end, it was good enough to secure a 100-88 victory at Georgia Tech’s McCamish Pavilion.
Budenholzer sent 11 players into the game during the competitive portion, though the absence of Marco Belinelli (not listed on the injury report) for a third straight outing was noteworthy. Atlanta built a 10-point halftime lead on the strength of strong defense and 13 points from Dennis Schröder and, from there, the Hawks managed to hang on to the advantage.
Malcolm Delaney finished the evening with 15 points on 4 of 6 shooting (to go along with five assists) and it was his strongest performance of the preseason. In addition, Schröder produced 21 points, five rebounds and four assists and John Collins put together a strong night with encouraging defense/rebounding and an array of highlight-worthy dunks.
Beyond that, Mike Muscala (12 points, four rebounds) had what was his best preseason performance and DeAndre’ Bembry flashed some of the encouraging signs with his passing vision and explosiveness that Hawks fans can take solace in at this early juncture. By no means was this a perfect showing and, well, it was a preseason game. Still, the Hawks managed to display some of their more encouraging attributes in front of a home crowd and that was fun.
Stay tuned as the Hawks wrap up the preseason on Thursday against the Dallas Mavericks.