The Atlanta Hawks split preseason matchups with the Orlando Magic over the weekend, losing the opener on Friday and winning the rematch Sunday evening. Thursday, the Hawks took on the Grizzlies in the first of two games in Memphis to close out the preseason.
The opening quarter was an offensive affair, with both teams shooting over 50% from the floor for the period. Atlanta ultimately led 34-32 heading into the second behind a more aggressive Trae Young.
Trae has 5 points and this assist early in the first quarter. pic.twitter.com/mIVcc3qGRr— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) December 18, 2020
Rajon Rondo, who was questionable coming into the evening, made his Hawks debut and did not disappoint. The elder statesman on the roster racked up five assists in his first four minutes of action, running with a couple of the starters and other pieces of the second unit.
Rondo’s ability to keep the offense organized when Young and other primary creators are off the floor will be crucial for Atlanta this season.
Rajon's first TD pass a Hawk? pic.twitter.com/HA1HvlLSPY— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) December 18, 2020
The second quarter, much like the first, was dominated by the offenses, with Memphis outscoring Atlanta 36-32 this time. The Grizzlies got hot from three-point range, going 6-for-12 on threes in the period. Atlanta was able to keep pacing with good ball movement, totaling 18 assists as a team in the opening half.
Trae Young and Rajon Rondo gave the Hawks non-stop passing from the point in the first half.— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) December 18, 2020
Clint Capela cashed in on their facilitation. pic.twitter.com/39uGzEa8V1
Trae Young and Ja Morant both finished the half with 13 points and five assists, while De’Andre Hunter and Clint Capela both also scored 13 points before the break for Atlanta. Cam Reddish had nine points off the bench in the half.
Dillon Brooks was red hot early for Memphis, scoring 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the floor and 4-for-6 from three-point range in the first two quarters.
Memphis came out of the half on an 8-2 run, extending their lead to 76-68 with 9:32 remaining in the second, leading to a quick timeout by the Hawks as Atlanta started the second half just 1-of-6 from the floor.
The run to start the half moved to 16-5 in favor of the Grizzlies as the Hawks continued to struggle on both ends of the floor, leaving Memphis with a lead of 84-71 at the 6:00 mark in the third. As the barrage continued, the lead grew to 97-78 with under three minutes left in the period.
In a period of little bright spots, at least Reddish looks comfortable from deep here in the preseason.
Atlanta was unable to slow down Memphis once they got going, and ultimately never made much of a comeback attempt in the fourth. The Hawks actually got outscored 16-6 to start the period, leaving the Grizzlies up 25 with seven minutes to play.
The Hawks were not particularly sharp on either end of the floor in the second half, getting outscored 60-40 overall in the final two quarters, losing by a score of 128-106.
Hunter led the way in scoring for the Hawks with 22 points in 29 minutes. Young had 15 points, six assists and four rebounds across 27 minutes of action, with Capela adding 13 points and nine rebounds in 25 minutes. Reddish finished with 12 points and five rebounds off the bench in 19 minutes, with Rondo adding three points and seven assists in 17 minutes.
Morant had 18 points and 13 assists, leading the way as usual for Memphis as Brooks led in scoring with 24 points.
Atlanta and Memphis play again Saturday evening at 8 pm ET, then all attention will turn to the Dec. 23 regular season opener in Chicago against the Bulls.