The Atlanta Hawks wrapped up their four-game preseason slate with a rematch against the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday evening. After a blowout loss that featured an underwhelming second half performance on Thursday, much of the game wasn’t impressive from the Hawks, but they executed a late comeback to win by a 117-116 margin.
Things began poorly for the Hawks, with the Grizzlies zooming to a 17-6 start. Atlanta turned the ball over three times and struggled defensively in the opening moments.
Danilo Gallinari was a bright spot in the first half, knocking down a three-pointer on the first possession after he checked in off the bench.
Gallinari comes in.— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) December 20, 2020
His first possession? Gallo tees up a 3. pic.twitter.com/mrbNvCVMdc
That shot didn’t stop the bleeding, though, as the Grizzlies stretched their lead to 29-11 as the Hawks flailed. All told, Atlanta’s shooting performance — 7-of-24 from the field and 1-of-9 from three — doomed them in the first quarter, but it was ugly across the board.
There were signs of the life in the second quarter, with Kevin Huerter burying a three-pointer to kick off a 10-2 run.
Cam Reddish also got into the act during the spurt.
Though the Hawks were not perfect in the second quarter, they were notably better on both ends. Gallinari led the push with 11 points before halftime and, after a rough start, Trae Young found his footing as a distributor while also generating four steals. Atlanta shot 53 percent from the floor and 4-of-8 from deep in the second quarter, cutting the margin to ten points at the break.
Gallo doing work— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) December 20, 2020
11 PTS 4 AST off the bench at the half! pic.twitter.com/6F5Xqs3nUB
The Hawks showed more energy early in the third quarter, but things shifted after a skirmish between Young and Grayson Allen. The two were tangled up, exchanging pleasantries, and Young was given a technical foul, with double technicals assessed to both head coaches. Immediately, the Grizzlies drew the fourth foul on both Young and John Collins, taking advantage of quick whistles and zooming to an 18-5 run.
That push, along with Memphis knocking down a barrage of three-pointers, put the Hawks down by a 19-point margin in short order. Atlanta did respond, though, using a 10-0 run to climb back into the picture and cutting the margin to as few as seven.
The Hawks opened the fourth quarter trailing by ten points and, within a minute, the deficit was 14. The margin stayed in that range for the next several minutes, but there were a few bright spots, including a nice finish through contact by Reddish.
Cam is all kinds of strong right here. pic.twitter.com/P0dAswhBeh— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) December 20, 2020
Atlanta wasn’t done yet, though, going on a 16-0 (!) run to tie the game. Granted, the lion’s share of the damage came against a non-rotational unit for the Grizzlies, but the Hawks did perform better down the stretch.
With some help from Brandon Goodwin, Atlanta took their first lead of the game with less than two minutes to go, setting up some actual drama in the closing seconds. Ultimately, though, the Hawks led for the final 2:02, rallying from a 19-point deficit to win.
Atlanta was led by 64 points from the bench, headlined by 19 points and five rebounds from Gallinari and 16 points from Huerter. Reddish led the starters with 18 points, with Collins adding 15 points and six rebounds.
Atlanta will return to action for the regular season opener on Wednesday evening, with the Hawks visiting the Chicago Bulls.