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Hawks fall in preseason finale in Miami despite strong second quarter

A loss, but a fun second quarter if nothing else

NBA: Preseason-Atlanta Hawks at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks fell short in their final preseason game against the Miami Heat at the American Airlines Arena on Friday night, falling 119-113.

Jeremy Lin led the Hawks with 20 points while the Heat were led by Josh Richardson’s 24 points.

For the game itself... As always, if you missed it and want to know how the game itself unfolded, you can do that here but here’s a brief synopsis if you’re pressed for time (in which case, you’ve chosen the wrong follow-up to read with me writing it)...

No John Collins in this one, sidelined due to injury and it’s the same story for Dewayne Dedmon and Justin Anderson. For those who did play, it was a brief outing for Kent Bazemore, Trae Young, Taurean Prince, Alex Len and Vince Carter who did not feature in the second half. Subsequently, the Hawks’ 14 point halftime lead disappeared and Miami — who played a lot more of their rotation guys for longer stints — eventually turned that into a double digit lead in the fourth quarter, winning by six in the end.

Let’s break it down...

A very enjoyable first half highlighted by Atlanta’s second quarter

Before Young, Bazemore, Len, Prince and Carter disappeared for the second half, they were involved in what was a very enjoyable first half, not only in terms of score but in terms of how the Hawks actually played.

The Hawks scored 66 first half points on 50% shooting from the field and 42% from behind the arc, including a 39 point second quarter.

39 points on 58% shooting from the field, made five three-pointers and outscored the Heat by 12 points to take a 14 point lead into the break — topping off a quality first half from both sides from a neutral’s perspective.

We saw impressive cuts/man-movement, good passing/ball movement (15 first half assists), good was a very enjoyable half, and potentially a taste of what this season could offer for the Atlanta Hawks — fun basketball in a loss (though, the second half or this one was basically a write off for the Hawks).

Plays like this featured often in the second quarter: Taurean Prince takes the ball in transition, finds Young behind the three-point line, who drives before kicking the ball back behind him to Kent Bazemore after drawing the defense, and Bazemore hits the three:

We’ll see more impressive plays from the second quarter as we go on, since we’ll be touching on both Jeremy Lin and Trae Young, who made strong impressions in the first half...

Jeremy Lin impressing

Let’s move straight onto Jeremy Lin, who led the Hawks in scoring with 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field and 6-of-6 form the free throw line in 25 minutes of action coming off of the bench, starting the second half for the rested Young.

Lin has been playing like a man who has just been desperate to have the game of basketball back in his life after missing nearly a full year of basketball after that season-ending patella injury he suffered with Brooklyn — he looked very impressive in this game.

Lin attempted only one three-pointer, meaning pretty much all of his scoring work came from around the painted area.

Lin showed nice touch on his drives, notching his first points on this drive past Rodney McGruder, shielding the ball with his extended arm and raises it to finish at the rim:

Receiving the ball from a hand-off from Alex Len (who, again, had a strong game) Lin probes inside before stepping back and hitting a contested shot in the paint:

Coming the other way after a Heat score, Lin leads the way before handing the ball to Carter in the high-post. Carter then backs down Tyler Johnson, gets to the mid-post area by which stage Lin recognizes that Derrick Jones Jr. is ball-watching and makes a nice cut which Carter spots and then rewards as Lin catches and hits the layup:

Not a ton happened in the second half but Lin continued to rack up the minutes and the points as he comes off of the Miles Plumlee screen and hits a lovely floater:

Had Hassan Whiteside decided to step up a few inches and contest that shot, who knows if that goes in... But he doesn’t and Lin is left with a fairly open shot in the end as Goran Dragic is left chasing after the screen.

If not much happened in the third quarter, even less happened in the fourth quarter but Lin finished the game with this strong drive which he scored and drew the foul on:

Briante Weber can probably feel a little hard done by that a jump-ball wasn’t called (looked like he got a solid hand in there) but Lin showed solid strength to finish through it.

Another strong game in the preseason for Lin, who is making up for a lot of lost time after his injuries with some strong play. It appears, still, as though he’ll be the backup point guard but it’s also looking like Lin will be able to provide strong backup for Young. No one was sure what to expect of Lin coming off that injury but so far so good for Lin in Atlanta.

Trae Young shines amongst Hawks rookies

Just the 15 minutes for Young last night in which he was rested in the second half but still made a strong mark in that impressive first half in the process — 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting, 2-of-3 from three and five assists.

Generally speaking, Young’s shot selection was pretty good in this game with just a few shots that, on reflection, you’d say weren’t great shots.

That probably includes this straight-away 30-footer but it went in, so people won’t care:

But like I said, these were seldom occurrences in this game, with shots in the flow of the game like this one a lot more frequent, as Young hits the corner three after relocating himself:

One of the bigger questions surrounding Young heading into this season was about his movement off of the ball. We saw how off-ball movement led to that previous three-pointer but a nice cut also led to this layup in the second quarter:

This is really encouraging from Young, this off-ball movement. The Hawks have creators/ball-handlers on this team other than Young, which means when Young makes these cuts/moves, he’s able to be found.

And, of course, Young himself continues to find his teammates for assists/opportunities.

Here, Young starts it with a 60-foot pass (just for starters) to Len, who catches, the ball works its way back to Young, who displays solid burst to get inside and then dumps the ball back to Len as the trailer and Len finishes the play with the basket:

As Young comes off another Len screen, the Heat find themselves too narrow defensively, leaving Young with an easy passing option to the corner where Kent Bazemore is only too happy to knock down easy three-pointers:

This wasn’t an assist, but an impressive play nonetheless as Young finds Carter in transition to end the first half but Carter’s three is missed:

Young was by far the best Hawks rookie on the floor last night as Omari Spellman and Kevin Huerter, again, struggled to make a meaningful impact.

Spellman looked poor once again defensively (committing poor fouls and displaying poor defense) and Huerter couldn’t get any of his outside shots to fall, going 0-of-3.

Of course, it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that the fifth overall pick in the draft is performing better than the 19th and 30th picks, but it’s hard to understate how poor Spellman and Huerter have been in preseason.

They should have a bag packed for Erie because they’ll be spending some quality time there, I’m sure.

Free throw disparity

One last note on this game was the giant differential in terms of free throws attempted and made in this game. The Hawks shot 16-of-17 from the free throw line while the Heat 28-of-41 from the line.

The Heat obviously missed a ton of freebies but the fact they got to the free throw line that many times has to be a concern for Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce, who saw his team enter the penalty with over eight minutes remaining in the second quarter and nine minutes in the third quarter — the Heat shooting 31 free throws in the second and third quarters.

The aforementioned Omari Spellman in particular committed a number of fouls in the early stages of the third quarter (in which he started for Alex Len) that quickly pushed the Heat into the bonus and was quickly subbed out for Miles Plumlee.

And with that, that’s enough said about that

Up next

The Hawks wrap up their preseason at 2-3 and will officially begin their regular season in New York next Wednesday.

It’s finally that time.