The Atlanta Hawks traveled to New Orleans on Tuesday night to do battle with the free-falling Pelicans. At the start of the night, the Pels had just five more wins than the Hawks and, after 48 minutes, that gap continued to close when the Hawks claimed a 130-120 victory.
Offense was not an issue for Atlanta in the early going of this game. John Collins got things started with a patented alley-oop slam off of a Trae Young pass. That same duo then repeated the feat just moments later as the chemistry between Young and Collins continues to grow.
New Orleans wasn’t lacking in offense either, as Cheick Diallo got to work with three straight made jumpers in the opening four minutes. Frank Jackson added a three and two free throws and the Pelicans were neck and neck with the Hawks up until the middle of the first.
Young began to really break the Pels defense down by getting into the lane with his hesitation dribble move that Jeremy Lin frequently used during his time with Atlanta. After a running lay-up by Young, the rookie guard was able to find Dewayne Dedmon at the rim for another alley-oop dunk.
Trae Young and Dewayne Dedmon make some noise coming out of a timeout. pic.twitter.com/py6UQq17xy— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) March 27, 2019
Alex Len made his way into the game and was instantly bathed in flames as he rattled off three straight three-point makes for Atlanta. Late in the quarter, it was Vince Carter and Kevin Huerter that carried the offense with back-to-back makes from beyond the arc to lead the Hawks to an eight-point lead at 42-34 after one quarter.
Atlanta continued their high flying offense in the second quarter after a rough couple of opening minutes that featured Huerter and Jaylen Adams as the point guards while Young rested on the bench.
Action really picked back up with just under seven minutes remaining in the half as Collins was able to flush a big jam that really kick started the Hawks again. Justin Anderson entered the game (as he has been doing at a regular rate recently) and immediately made an impact by knocking down a three.
obs. obs. obs. obs.— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) March 27, 2019
obs. obs. obs. obs.
obs. obs. obs. obs.
obs. obs. obs. obs. pic.twitter.com/ULXe7r4ItU
In the final five minutes, it was ‘Trae Time,’ as Young began to tear the defense apart by first hitting Dedmon for a wide open shot. Young later was able to get to the free throw line after a tough drive and hit a three in transition. He capped the half with a floater as the Hawks carried a 70-57 lead into the break.
In the penultimate quarter, Atlanta continued to hit on all cylinders with Young getting the offense rolling again after a layup and three-point make. Young followed with another nice pass to Collins in the lane for a wide open slam under the rim.
The Pelicans responded with a nice couple of possessions involving Kenrich Williams who had a dunk of his own and followed that up with a nice pass to Jackson beneath the rim for a lay-in.
The offense began to sputter for Atlanta as they went nearly six minutes without a made field goal. It wasn’t until DeAndre’ Bembry nailed a three with just over three minutes remaining that the Hawks broke their scoring drought. Despite the drought Atlanta was able to survive and still lead the game as the quarter wound down.
Carter hit another huge three to halt the momentum shift with under two minutes to play in the third that actually helped the Hawks outscore the Pelicans overall in the period 32-30. In the end, Atlanta carried a cool 15-point lead into the final frame hoping for a strong finish.
The fourth began in a strange way as John Collins fouled out of the game with nearly 11 minutes still to go. To make things worse, Collins’ final foul was upgraded to a flagrant one after review, and John was quite displeased as he walked back to the locker room.
Atlanta had a hard time getting the engines going in the fourth after Collins was disqualified, but as usual Young began to pick up all of the slack.
Trae began by assisting on a Dedmon three-pointer, and quickly found Dedmon again in the lane for a tough layup that found its way into the basket. Young was able to hit a corner three just two minutes later that got him over the 30-point mark yet again, and also gave him his sixth 30 point/10 assist game of the year.
a little icy in new orleans tonight pic.twitter.com/alygmwXq5U— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) March 27, 2019
New Orleans was not completely put away though as they continued to hang around thanks to consecutive threes made by Darius Miller and Williams. Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce then pulled Young from the game with around four minutes remaining, and turned to Huerter at the point again with a narrowing lead.
The Pelicans broke back into single digits with just under three minutes to go, but it was Vince Carter coming up huge again, as he did near the end of nearly every quarter in this game with a three-point make that secured the double-digit lead again.
Young reentered the game with just under two minutes to play and the Hawks waltzed to another victory, scoring 130 points yet again.
The Hawks were led by Young who tallied 33 points and 12 assists total (to go with just one turnover). Bembry chipped in 18 more points, along with Dewayne Dedmon who also had 18 and 9 boards.
New Orleans had three 20 point scorers in the loss as Julius Randle poured in 24 points and 9 boards. The Pelicans also got 23 from Christian Wood, and 20 more from Frank Jackson.
The Hawks will return to action on Friday evening at State Farm Arena, when Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers arrive for their annual visit. Stay tuned.