Yesterday, I copped a ticket last minute off StubHub and hit the Philips Arena for a Hawks game against the New Orleans Pelicans. Outside of a preseason game against Detroit, it was my first in depth look at the squad this season.
From the onset, the Hawks controlled the game, racing to 41-28 lead at halftime. A late 4th quarter run, strangely without Anthony Davis for most it, brought the Pelicans within 8 points, however it was too little to late as the Hawks moved to 8-6 with a 100-91 win.
I’ve been box score analyzing and recap reading to keep up with Hawks, but this was a good game to see where we are this year.
14 games into the season Jeff Teague is playing at All-Star level. He’s been the Hawks best player and is tenacious on defense, and quick and decisive on offense. He finished the night with 26 pts and 7 assists. The point guard position is in good hands with Teague and 2nd year point guard Dennis Schroder. He scored 11 pts off the bench and has shown improvement since last season.
Demare Carroll’s progression never ceases to amazes me, before his stint in Utah he was damn near out of the league. Coming out of the University of Missouri he was known as a rugged defender and high motor guy, with a limited offensive game. He can still be described as the former, but now he’s averaging over 12 PPG, shooting from 3 point range at a consistent clip and locking down the other team’s best perimeter scorer. He’s been a great find for the Hawks.
I still think the Hawks need a wing scorer off the bench. We play two stretch bigs (Pero Antic and Mike Scott), two guards (Schroder and Mack), and interchangeably use two high energy wing defenders in Thabo Sefolosha and Kent Bazemore. Altogther they’re solid, but a guy who can get his own shot and score 10-15 per game will cause other teams fits. Outside of the bench scoring and finding a strong rotation, the Hawks look good and will be a 4 or 5 seed in the East.
New Orleans Pelicans
I’ll be honest, the main reason I wanted to go to the game was to see if the Anthony Davis hype is real. Here’s his statline for the season: 24.6 PPG/11.2 RPG/3.2 BPG/2.1 SPG/55% FG/80% FT
Those numebrs have him in elite company. Like, Hakeem Olajuwon and David Robinson type of company. He didn’t put up those type of numbers last night, but he’s as good advertised. One thing that puzzled me was how Monty Williams utilized him. He didn’t play in the 4th quarter until about 5 mins left. The team did make a comeback without him, but there’s no doubt he probably could’ve helped them take the lead.
Quick Takes on the Pelicans
- Austin Rivers’ youth may be his saving grace for a shot with another NBA team, because he’s been a bust for New Orleans thus far. He can’t shoot to save his life and missed a few wide open jumpers BADLY. He’s shot 20% from the field in his last 5 games.
- I’m not sure Monty Williams is the answer at head coach, plus they’re still a 2-3 pieces away from building a true Western Conference contender.
- The Pelicans have maybe 5 or 6 pieces worth building around: Davis, Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans, Omer Asik, and Ryan Anderson. Eric Gordon and his big contract may be immovable at this point, but they really just need a spot up 3 and D small forward and a couple bench guys to complement Ryan Anderson. Evans and Holiday can create their own shots and distribute and play solid defense. Make those moves and we’ll New Orleans in the playoffs next year.
Overall, it was good game. I’ll try to hit a couple more before the season ends.