The Atlanta Hawks welcomed the Memphis Grizzlies into town for a preseason matchup Thursday night. This was treated as a tune up it is for both teams who both chose to rest a number of key players: De’Andre Hunter, Saddiq Bey, and Onyeka Okongwu for the good guys, and Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Marcus Smart, and Jaren Jackson Jr. among others for the foes.
Both teams got off to hot starts with the Hawks generating a couple of catch-and-shoot threes, including this Jalen Johnson triple.
Jalen's jump shot is easy work. pic.twitter.com/HteWUblKjA— Bally Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnBally) October 12, 2023
The Memphis Grizzlies pulled away from the Hawks a bit in the first quarter, however, behind hot shooting from deep and easy looks at the basket. That was aided in big part by a step slower Hawks defense in that period. Atlanta attempted to fight fire with fire by moving the ball and finding open shots.
This Mouhamed Gueye dunk, for example, was the product of nice vision and passing.
Bogi + Bruno + Mo make a poster pic.twitter.com/WvdEGxf8VD— Bally Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnBally) October 13, 2023
After one quarter, the Memphis Grizzlies led the Atlanta Hawks 31-29. Trae Young took over for an extended period early in the second quarter, however, dropping in a number of pull up threes well beyond the arc. In just 1:21 minutes of game action, Young recorded 10 points.
Trae from the 'R' in 'Farm' pic.twitter.com/FLIAMiWnrd— Bally Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnBally) October 13, 2023
The Hawks showcased much better defense in the second quarter and used Trae Young and Jalen Johnson to quickly vault to a double-digit lead. This clip was a highlight in the synergy displayed between the two players.
At the half, Young led all scorers with 20 points and Jalen Johnson added 14 points to propel Atlanta to a 59-50 lead. As a team, the Hawks were really letting it fly from deep in the first 24 minutes, going 9-for-19 (47%) and opening up later drives to the hoop.
Once the third quarter tipped off, that duo’s presence on the bench signaled the end of the night for both Young and Johnson. Head coach Quin Snyder tossed out a lineup of Patty Mills, Kobe Bufkin, Garrison Mathews, Mouhamed Gueye and Bruno Fernando to begin the second half.
Atlanta was able to keep Memphis at an arm's length in the bench-versus-bench section of battle early in the second half, even taking a 14-point lead at one point. First-round pick Kobe Bufkin was able to get valuable reps on the ball at point guard, pouring in 12 points by the end of the third quarter. With one quarter left to play, the Hawks maintained the edge on the scoreboard, 84-73.
Bruno Fernando made his mark known defensively by swatting a couple of shots on unsuspecting victims in the second half.
Mo Gueye also flashed his shooting, passing and of course rim-rattling throw downs in the same time frame. Here is a cutup of Gueye, Bufkin, and AJ Griffin draining deep shots.
The Memphis Grizzlies never gave up, however, whittling the lead down to two points with under three minutes to play. Garrison Mathews even got into it with Vince Williams after a tough screen, and they were both assessed a technical by the referees following words being exchanged.
After a foul and two makes from GG Jackson II, Memphis took the lead at 97-96. From there, it was a back-and-forth affair with each team trading the lead multiple times. Memphis eventually took possession of the ball with five seconds left down a single point. Seth Lundy came up with a big block at the rim and a late desperation three went begging to give Atlanta the victory, 103-102.
SETH LUNDY'S BLOCK SEALS THE GAME FOR ATLANTA! pic.twitter.com/9TuiKk8YQN— NBA (@NBA) October 13, 2023
Kobe Bufkin, Mouhamed Gueye, and Garrison Mathews each finished with 12 points to go along with 34 points combined from Trae Young and Jalen Johnson. The win takes Atlanta to 2-0 in the preseason with a Pelican game on deck on Saturday afternoon in Gateway Center Arena.