The Atlanta Hawks continued their road trip in New Orleans Monday night as they faced off against the Pelicans and their mighty frontcourt duo at the Smoothie King Center. The Hawks are coming off a tough loss in Washington Saturday night after a fourth quarter collapse.
The Hawks inactives for Monday’s game were DeAndre Bembry, who is rehabbing a broken wrist, and Miles Plumlee could return any day after dealing with a hamstring strain the last month. Ersan Ilyasova will continue to miss time with a bone bruise on his knee hindering him. Mike Muscala also did not play once again on Monday.
The Hawks came out in the first quarter on absolute fire from the field, especially from three-point land. Marco Belinelli gave the Hawks a huge boost off the bench knocking down a three and making some nice passes out to other Hawks shooters for open threes. Luke Babbitt continues to be a revelation in the starting lineup and the Hawks dominated the first quarter to a 32-23 tune.
New Orleans tried to make a comeback in the second and with Dewayne Dedmon on the bench in foul trouble and succeeded using their enormous size down low to pummel the Hawks on both ends of the floor. As quickly as the Hawks heated up from three they cooled down in the second quarter but a couple of key defensive plays by Kent Bazemore helped the Hawks take a lead into the break 50-45.
The Hawks and Pelicans decided to turn the first half of the third quarter into a scrapping match with the Hawks turning to Tyler Cavanaugh with both big men in foul trouble. The rookie did not disappoint as he came in to hit two quick three pointers to put the Hawks up big. The Pelicans fought back with their size though and the Hawks took a narrow lead of 80-78 into the fourth quarter.
John Collins did some great work for the Hawks in the early part of the fourth quarter on both ends of the floor scoring on a post-up fade, a lob pass and several pick and roll passes. He did great rebounding work against Boogie Cousins and simply was the Hawks best player in the fourth.
The Pelicans and Hawks went back and forth down the stretch with a three-point contest breaking out late. In the end, it all came down to the Hawks with the ball down one with around 20 seconds left but the Hawks hilariously dribbled it out of bounds giving the ball back to the Pelicans with three seconds remaining. The Pels did return the favor turning it over with one second on the clock for one last opportunity but they could not convert and took the loss.
The Hawks spread out their scoring tremendously tonight with Tyler Cavanaugh scoring 16 points including three three-pointers in the third quarter alone. Kent Bazemore also put together a strong performance with 22 points of his own.
The Hawks will battle Sacramento at home on Wednesday, we hope to see you there!