Hawks @ Pelicans — Things of Note

Graham Chapple —  January 6, 2017

Layne Murdoch/NBAE/Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks keep on rolling. The Hawks dialled up their fifth consecutive victory after topping the New Orleans Pelicans 99-94 at the Smoothie King Arena on Thursday night. Anthony Davis led the Pelicans with 20 points and 19 rebounds while Jrue Holiday added another 18 points.

The Hawks traded who??

Ah… Not to spend too long on this subject, this isn’t exactly the place/article to do that (since it’s a game recap) but reports came flooding in last night — as the Hawks were warming up for this game — that a deal was being finalised to send Kyle Korver to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Kyle was quickly told of the trade.

As a result, Korver did not play in this game but it was great to see him still involved on the bench, cheering for his teammates. DeAndre’ Bembry played Korver’s minutes yesterday and he did well, scoring six points on 3-of-4 shooting in 14 minutes.

Per Chris Vivlamore of the AJC, the locker room wasn’t a happy place to be postgame, despite the Hawks picking up their fifth straight win.

We’ll cover what this trade (should it go through) means for the Hawks for the longterm, but for now you can expect THJ’s minutes to increase. A name rumoured to be involved in this trade, Mike Dunleavy… it remains to be seen what Atlanta’s plans are for him, if he’s involved in this deal. If he’s moved you can expect one of Bembry or Prince to start seeing some sort of consistent minutes but that’s very much in the air right now, as is this trade in general and what the Hawks are actually receiving.

Recovering from a double digit deficit

This was not the prettiest game in the world. Both teams shot under 43% from the field (NOLA shooting 36%), both teams had stretches where neither one could hit shots, the Hawks left a lot of points at the rim and the Hawks (in the form of Dennis Schröder and THJ) took some pretty awful shots at times. On the second night of a back-to-back, on the road, this usually doesn’t bode well for the Hawks but they really dug deep in this game.

A couple of key stretches in this game:

The Pelicans led by 12 points (33-45) with 2:33 remaining in the second quarter and were looking good to carry a double digit lead into the break. But the Hawks had an answer. By the end of the second quarter the Pelicans’ lead had been trimmed to five points, and within a minute and 10 seconds in the third quarter that lead was gone altogether: a 16-4 run.

New Orleans recovered, somewhat, and were poised to take a three point lead into the final quarter. But a three-pointer from THJ and a three free throws by Malcolm Delaney (fouled on a three-point attempt) launched the Hawks into a three point lead heading into the fourth quarter.

The Pelicans and Anthony Davis fought hard in the fourth quarter and now had the crowd on their side and the ball in their hands — with the game tied at 88 apiece — coming out of a timeout. Unfortunately for the Pelicans, that play ended in Buddy Hield running into a crowded Hawks defense. The Hawks went up the other end and Dennis Schröder sunk a three-pointer to put the Hawks up 91-88 with 1:13 remaining. The Pelicans looked to immediately respond but, again, Buddy Hield tried to force the issue at the rim, where he is challenged well by the Hawks, and New Orleans, again, come up dry. The Hawks make another trip down the offensive end and Paul Millsap hits the jumpshot that effectively sealed this game, putting the Hawks up 93-88 with 38 seconds remaining, forcing New Orleans to take a timeout. And now, in video form:

Here’s a thought if you’re the Pelicans: how about running something for that one guy for the Pelicans who’s really good, that Anthony Davis guy. But thankfully the Hawks, Hield made rookie errors. One day he’ll realise it’s not that easy to score at the rim when Paul Millsap and Dwight Howard are lurking. But the Hawks will take it. That’s five consecutive wins and this was a solid win, the team dealing with adversity, knowing their beloved teammate had been traded and on the second night of a back-to-back on the road. But it was a hollow victory…

Hawks leaving a lot of points at the rim

The Hawks left a lot of easy points at the rim in this game and it almost cost them dearly. The Hawks shot 19-of-34 at the rim with five of those coming from Dwight. Outside of Dwight, the Hawks actually shot 15-39 at the rim, way below the league average at the rim.

Paul Millsap in particular struggled at the rim, shooting 2-of-8 at the rim.

The Pelicans shot only 36% from the field but were able to make up their scoring numbers in second chance points (21) and threes (15 made three-pointers). They almost won this game and — had the Hawks lost this game — we would’ve been looking at the sheer amount of points the Hawks left at the rim as one of the big reasons the Hawks lost this game.

A lucky escape this time around for the Hawks.

Another good game from Delaney

Malcolm Delaney followed up his strong game against the Magic with another one last night. Sure, the scoring numbers aren’t incredible, seven points on 2-of-6 shooting, but he registered eight assists (ties an NBA career high), came up with five deflections, recovered three loose balls and produced his first dunk of the season.

Get up there, Malcolm.

Up next:

The Hawks (20-16) are back in action on Saturday against the Dallas Mavericks, in Dallas. Kyle Korver is a tough loss, but the show must go on…

Game stats: NBA.com

Graham Chapple