The Atlanta Hawks opened up their preseason schedule Monday night against the New Orleans Pelicans. Lots of hype and anticipation surrounded the matchup, as De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish made their State Farm Arena debut, as did Pelicans forward and 2019 No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson.
De’Andre Hunter opened the scoring for Atlanta, pump faking a three-pointer and dribbling into a smooth mid-range jumper.
De'Andre Hunter gets the first bucket. pic.twitter.com/qndOuxBuCV— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) October 7, 2019
A certain Pelicans rookie forward waited little time to make an entrance.
Zion just caught his first body pic.twitter.com/vymG2QMZbN— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) October 7, 2019
THINGS ARE HAPPENING pic.twitter.com/AofZxdQp3i— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) October 7, 2019
After getting out to a six-point lead early, the Hawks endured a 14-0 Pelicans run before responding with a quick 13-0 spurt of their own to regain the lead at 26-21.
Trae Young to John Collins, szn 2. pic.twitter.com/tFrDw7GQFb— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) October 7, 2019
While Reddish struggled some in the early going, some of his playmaking ability was on display.
Cam Reddish in-and-out dribble.— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) October 7, 2019
Alex Len dunk. pic.twitter.com/ZtitVBJrpa
The Hawks held a five point lead at the end of the first quarter. Alex Len led the team with eight points in the period.
The highlights kept coming as the young talent took centerstage.
Trae through the wickets. pic.twitter.com/trPjXxxKgy— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) October 8, 2019
The Pelicans jumped out to as much as a 14-point lead in the second, with the offense largely struggling to score when Young came off the floor. The defense was even worse, as the Pelicans hit the 30-point mark for the quarter in only seven minutes of play.
Len (11 points), Hunter (10 points) and Collins (10 points) led the way in terms of scoring for Atlanta in the first half. Young added seven points to go along with eight assists before the break.
Williamson led the way for New Orleans with 11 points and five rebounds.
The Pelicans continued to control the game in the early moments of the third, matching anything the Hawks had to offer offensively.
A bright spot of an otherwise less than spectacular defensive performance:
Damian Jones takes one out of the sky. pic.twitter.com/YUYv1UsnNH— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) October 8, 2019
Bembry was one of the only bright spots in what turned out to be a rough third period for Atlanta, scoring nine points in the quarter while remaining active (as always) defensively.
Vince Carter still plays basketball for the Atlanta Hawks.
The Pelicans took a 23-point lead into the fourth quarter after the Hawks seemingly unraveled defensively again in the third. Jrue Holiday led all scorers with 21 points heading into the final period.
Trae Young hit the 26-minute mark at the end of the third and did not play in the fourth quarter. He finished with nine ponts, 11 assists and eight turnovers. Collins and Hunter also (relatively) hit their minute thresholds to conclude the third. Hunter finished with ten points on six field goal attempts in what was an impressive debut. Collins had 13 points five rebounds and a block.
Cam Reddish had with 11 points on seven field goal attempts across his 15 minutes, impressing with a soft shooting stroke.
Len finished with 14 points across his 15 minutes, showing off that three-point touch he found last season with two? makes from distance.
Ultimately, the Hawks were unable to mount much of a rally with the bench on the floor in the fourth, as the Pelicans reached the 126-point mark with six minutes remaining, with New Orleans eventually taking the win, 133-109.
Jabari Parker scored ten points in his Hawks debut to go along with five rebounds.
Defensively, the Hawks left much to be desired, however there were some encouraging signs including the play of De’Andre Hunter and the shooting touch displayed by Cam Reddish at multiple levels.
The Hawks will be back in action Wednesday night from State Farm Arena when they will take on the Orlando Magic for their second preseason contest.