Atlanta Hawks Blog

A blog about Atlanta’s NBA franchise, from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Ten observations from Hawks victory over Mavericks

Ten observations from Hawks 112, Mavericks 107. . . 

1. The Hawks held on to win on a night when Dennis Schroder carried them offensively: 33 points on 22 shots, including 4-for-8 on three-pointers. Schroder's three-pointer with 1:21 to go put the Hawks up for good, and he rallied them with 12 points on five shots in the third quarter. Schroder tied career highs for points, field goals (13) and three-pointes made. The Mavericks couldn't solve his scoring and play-making. Schroder said he wanted to attack Dallas' bigs when they helped. "(Dirk) Nowtizki is kind of slow now. He's getting older. So Coach told me to be aggressive and if the help comes, just pass it to the corners for open threes and if not just go. In the second half I came out and tried to be aggressive."

2. Schroder scored 27 points after halftime. After a few of his scores he pointed to Quavo, who was sitting in the front row. Schroder: "I was texting him yesterday about he (was) coming. He told me to drop 30 points for him. I had to do it. But the special thing is we won the game. I think that's the reason why everybody is happy now."

3. Schroder takes a lot of heat for his defense and offensive decision-making. But he's really good at drawing attention and then setting up his teammates for easy shots. Schroder ranked seventh in the league in assist percentage before the game and tonight had seven of his team’s 29 assists.

4. After the Hawks won the season opener behind a superlative performance by Schroder, he said he had to “prove a point” against Mavericks rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. It looked like he was doing the same tonight while hounding Smith (six points on eight shots). My subjective view is that, lately, Schroder has been better defensively. Maybe I was wrong and that benching was a good idea after all.

4. John Collins announced himself as a pro in the season opener at Dallas. Just like in that game, the Mavericks had a hard time keeping Collins (13 points on nine shots) away from the rim on screen-rolls and also preventing Schroder from turning the corner.  Schroder: "That's big time. That's the reason why John is here. He's a great roller. He's dangerous when he rolls. They know it. They've got to make a decision if they want to let me open or I can throw it to him. It worked out today."

5. The Hawks trailed by five at halftime and led by as many as 10 in the third quarter before the Hawks got loose with the ball and Dallas closed on a 15-4 run to lead 80-79. The Mavs had four steals in the period, including three over the final 1:11. J.J. Barea, working in tandem with Devin Harris, was the main pest. But the Hawks kept pace and finished out the victory after arriving home late following the the tough loss at OKC last night. "It felt like 48 minutes of pretty good basketball," Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. "I thought there was 48 minutes of competitiveness, togetherness."

6. Ersan Ilyasova scored 10 of the first 15 points for the Hawks with a variety of good plays: backdoor cut to the rim, transition layup (a sequence started by his steal), a fast-break three-pointer and a nice spin move in the lane for an and-1. Ilyasova finished with 21 points on nine shots, seven rebounds (six defensive), two assists, a block, a steal and two turnovers. The Mavs isolated him several times and he held his own defensively. Budenholzer: "He's just doing a lot of everything. I like the way he's rolling to the basket and finishing around there. . . . He's always great defensively, taking charges and getting rebounds. I think he passes well."

7. The Hawks used extensive zone looks on defense, something they usually only do after timeouts. In the first quarter Mavs coach Rick Carlisle had to call a timeout because his team didn’t seem to know what to run against the zone. Eventually the Mavericks found success against the zone by attacking the middle of the floor.

8. Malcolm Delaney had a good first-half run that included playing alongside Isaiah Taylor. Delaney is always looking to push the pace in the open court, which is something the Hawks can use.

9. Tyler Cavanaugh joined the rotation for the second straight game. It appeared Budenholzer ran some plays for him in the first quarter. Cavanaugh missed his first two three-point tries and then got it going to finish  with seven points on five shots. Dirk Nowitzki (18 points on 11 shots) made a couple three-pointers over decent challenges from Cavanaugh, which happens.

10. DeAndre' Bembry was a DNP-CD after he played just seven minutes at Oklahoma City.

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About the Author

Michael Cunningham has covered the Hawks and other beats for the AJC since 2010.