The Atlanta Hawks fell to 1-2 in the preseason with a 128-106 loss Thursday evening to the Memphis Grizzlies. On Saturday, the two teams will square off for the second time in three nights in what will be the finale to the preseason for both squads.
Memphis controlled the second half of the first matchup, outscoring Atlanta 60-40 over the final two quarters after a tight first half. Defensively, Atlanta seems to be playing with things and ironing out communication issues. They have toyed with different lineups, and schemes, on that end of the floor in an effort to improve on what was one of the worst defensive ratings in the NBA last season.
While the results defensively were not pretty in the second half, it is again important to remember that preseason scores and stats can mostly be ignored. Still, with a team that is halfway overhauled, it is important for everyone to get reps under the lights and work on communication against another competent NBA offense.
Ja Morant and Trae Young will look to get their respective groups headed in the right direction to close out the preseason, with both teams having playoff aspirations behind their young star guards. It remains to be seen if coaches will deploy starters in big minutes or not, but nonetheless, this is the final ‘dress rehearsal’ before games start counting in the standings.
This will be the final tune-up for the Hawks before the games start counting next week, when Atlanta travels to Chicago to play the Bulls on Dec. 23.
In terms of injuries, the Hawks will be without a few guys again on Saturday. Clint Capela (left Achilles soreness) and Cam Reddish (right ankle soreness) are officially listed as probable. Rajon Rondo (personal reasons) is out, while Onyeka Okongwu, Kris Dunn, and Tony Snell also remain out.
Game Date/Time: Saturday, Dec. 19, 8:00 pm ET
Location: FedEx Forum
TV: Fox Sports Southeast
Radio: 92.9 The Game (Atlanta); Hawks Radio Network
Streaming: Fox Sports Go; NBA TV (national), NBA League Pass (out of market)