In the second and final meeting of the season between top picks Luka Doncic and Trae Young (whom you may have heard were traded for one another on draft night), it was Dallas’s turn to host the festivities after the Atlanta Hawks were the home team to open their renovated arena in October. The Hawks kept it close for much of the game, but ultimately fell at the hands of Doncic and the hometown Mavericks by a final score of 114-107. Atlanta was paced by John Collins, who posted 20 points and 17 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a solid Mavericks team.
In the first quarter, Dallas got out to an early lead but Atlanta was able to power their way back, mostly through solid bench play. Still working without backup point guard Jeremy Lin, Atlanta’s bench units have had some difficulty in recent games, but they were able to create enough offense to get back into the game after being down by as much as eight points early on.
Kent Bazemore started for the injured Taurean Prince and played particularly well among the starters in the first quarter, including nine points and a beautiful assist to Alex Len for a dunk:
Kent Bazemore is cooking and he is willing to share. pic.twitter.com/iG4GMcJgBu— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) December 13, 2018
Atlanta was able to keep it going throughout the second quarter and took a 52-51 lead going into the halftime break. Bazemore finished the half with 11 points on eight shots but it was Collins’ work on the offensive glass that stood out in the first 24 minutes. The sophomore power forward pulled down six offensive rebounds in the first half and created a lot of havoc down low for a Mavericks team that likes to play smaller. Dallas was able to get a lot of points back on the other end, as Collins still isn’t as adept as the Hawks would like at sticking with shooters on the perimeter. In particular, Harrison Barnes started out the game hot from beyond the three-point line in his matchup with Collins.
Collins picked up his tenth rebound early in the third quarter to extend his double-double streak to five consecutive games, a career best. Nothing changed with his play in the third quarter, as he dominated the offensive glass early and often. Atlanta was beginning to put a real run together early on when Rick Carlisle, perturbed as his team’s play and the referees’ decision making, made quite a scene on his way to back-to-back technical fouls. The tirade earned him an early exit from the game but lit a fire under the Mavericks, who immediately put together a 12-3 run to take the lead. Atlanta bounced back immediately and took a one-point lead late in the quarter before ultimately falling behind 81-78 after three quarters.
Young put together a solid quarter as well with a few nice finishes and passes:
Don't hurt anyone with that spin move, Trae. pic.twitter.com/TDzYmv90zX— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) December 13, 2018
Vince and Kevin and Trae and John. pic.twitter.com/csMoeWbi2C— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) December 13, 2018
Bazemore had a highlight crossover of his own on Barnes:
After Atlanta took a late lead in the third, Dallas responded with a 12-0 run spanning the end of the third period and the beginning of the fourth to push their lead to ten points. The teams traded buckets for a few minutes before the Mavericks ran away with it in the middle of the fourth. There was a late run by Atlanta to get within five with less than a minute remaining, but it ultimately wasn’t to be for the Hawks.
Collins was fantastic for the visitors, posting a career night on the boards with 17 total rebounds and eight of the offensive variety, both career highs. Young pitched in 24 points and ten assists against just two turnovers in what was one of his best games in a while. Bazemore and Kevin Huerter round out the best-in-show list for Atlanta, combining for 41 points on 24 shots. Huerter in particular was much more aggressive in this contest than we’ve seen him previously; his 19 points eclipsed his previous career high. Ultimately, it was the free throw differential that killed Atlanta, as they had just 14 opportunities from the stripe to the Mavericks’ 43.
Atlanta continues their road trip in Boston on Friday and Brooklyn on Sunday before coming home for a matchup with the Washington Wizards next week.