Bad news for the Hawks: they lost.
Good news for the Hawks: Jerryd Bayless likely won’t be hitting everything he throws up when the regular season starts. Bayless scored 22 points on 8-for-9 shooting (5-for-5 on threes in the first half) to lead the Grizzlies to a 90-82 victory in Philips Arena.
“Jerryd Bayless, I don’t think he ever missed,” Coach Mike Budenholzer said.
“He was shooting lights out,” Jeff Teague said. “When guys get hot like that it’s hard to stop them.”
Bayless was the only Grizzlies starter to have success on offense, however. The Hawks played very stingy defense on Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, limiting Gasol to 10 points and Randolph to only four field goal attempts.
“They get the ball inside, it’s an emphasis in their offense,” Budenholzer said, “so for us, to get tested like that in the preseason and for Al [Horford] and Paul [Millsap] and everybody to defend the paint and to defend the post pretty decently… I think we’ll learn from that.”
“We have to give credit,” Horford said, “to our defense in general. We’re guarding [Gasol and Randolph], but we have our guards digging. We’re helping each other out. We’re putting ball pressure. We weren’t making it easy for them. It’s a collective effort.””
The Grizzlies’ offense did get bolstered by their bench, with forward Ed Davis scoring 14 points and rookie guard Jamaal Franklin scoring 10, six of which came via the three-ball.
The Hawks, however, did not get that kind of help from the bench. The ATL reserves went 7-for-39 from the field and 0-for-12 from behind the arc. The only bright spot in terms of scoring from the bench was Jared Cunningham’s 8-for-8 performance from the free throw line. Cartier Martin, who was getting his first minutes as a Hawk, had awfully hard time finding the hoop with a 1-for-12 performance.
For the Hawks’ starters, there was plenty to be pleased with. Millsap showed an array of moves in scoring 19 points, involving everything from the three-ball to spin moves in the post. He also might have had the best defensive performance for Atlanta, as he was constantly frustrating Randolph and he accumulated two steals and three blocks.
With Mike Conley out for Memphis, Teague was able to get good penetration on a lot of dribble-drives. He finished with 15 points and five assists. The five assists were tied with Horford and Kyle Korver to lead the team.
One major takeaway from this game should be Pero Antic’s great showing on defense. He had two steals, but that doesn’t reflect how well he did at properly rotating and contesting shots. With his height (6′-11″), he is definitely capable of allowing Horford to shift in-and-out of the PF spot on both sides of the ball.
The Hawks will play next against the Pacers on Tuesday at 7:30 in Philips Arena. They will then play the next night at Dallas, which will be their last preseason game before the season opener – also at Dallas – on October 30th.