The Hawks overcame an early double-digit deficit to defeat the Pelicans 103-93 in an exhibition game Friday night in Jacksonville, Fla.
Dennis Schroder led the Hawks with 11 points and starters Kent Bazemore, Kyle Korver and Al Horford all had 10 points apiece. The Hawks improved to 2-0 in the preseason. The Pelicans were led by Anthony Davis with a game-high 20 points, five rebounds and three blocks. Tyreke Evans added 17 points.
Here are my five observations from the game:
1. Going big
The Hawks don’t figure to do it a lot this season but they went with the big lineup that featured Paul Millsap at small forward, Horford at power forward and Tiago Splitter at center early in the first quarter. The matchup was right. The Pelicans moved Davis to center when Ryan Anderson entered the game. The Hawks countered by removing starting small forward Bazemore to insert Splitter.
2. Same starters
Bazemore again got the start at small forward with Thabo Sefolosha away from the team. Sefolosha will rejoin the team this weekend following the conclusion of his trial in New York. It will be interesting to see if he immediately gets a start with the next exhibition game Wednesday at home against the Spurs. All the starters played into the third quarter, including Kyle Korver, who played just the first half in the preseason opener following his offseason surgeries. The starters finished playing about 20 minutes apiece with Jeff Teague (19:46, four points), Korver (18:35, 10 points), Bazemore (19:46, 10 points), Millsap (20:41, nine points) and Horford (20:48, 10 points). Horford was 2 of 3 from 3-point range.
3. Normal rotation
Coach Mike Budenholzer used a more normal rotation of 11 players until late in the third quarter. Shelvin Mack didn’t play until late in the third quarter. Edy Tavares, who had an impressive debut Wednesday, didn’t enter the game until 1:19 remained in the period. In his 11:23 of playing time, the center finished with eight points, six rebounds and a block. The Hawks’ bench did much of the comeback work and put the game away in the fourth quarter. Mike Scott had nine points and was a plus-21.
4. Battle for 15th spot
Again, Lamar Patterson seems to have the edge in the competition for the final roster spot. He was the first of the six competitors to enter the game as he started the fourth quarter. He finished with six points and three assists in 11:18. Terran Petteway entered the game about a minute and a half later. He finished with two points and two assists and was a plus-14 in 9:35.The other four saw very little or no action - Earl Barron (1:55), DeQuan Jones (DNP), Edgar Sosa (DNP) and Arsalan Kazemi (DNP).
5. Slow start
The Hawks offense struggled early with the starting unit and key reserves in the game. They fell behind by as many as 15 points before their comeback. After the first quarter, in which they trailed 23-15 they had just one assist on 4 of 16 shooting from the field. They finished the first half with just four assists on 12 field goals as Teague, Korver, Millsap and Horford all had one each. Not the ball-sharing offense the team employed so well last season.