Shorthanded Hawks Fight Hard In Preseason Finale

Wednesday, October 23, 2013
By Jaryd Wilson

Atlanta Hawks v Dallas Mavericks

A few thoughts on the Hawks’ 98-88 loss to the Mavericks:

– The Hawks were without Al Horford and Paul Millsap due to minor injuries, and Kyle Korver also didn’t travel with the team for personal reasons.  With those three guys out, combined with the fact that it was the preseason finale, Coach Bud saw no reason to play Jeff Teague or DeMarre Carroll since the other guys weren’t there for them to start the game with.  Even without any of the regular starters, I thought the Hawks played their best game of the preseason, even in defeat.  The ball was moving, guys were cutting, Dennis was awesome (more on him below), and they looked like they were having fun.

Hawks vs. Mavericks
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Mike Scott finished off an absolutely dazzling preseason with another spectacular performance tonight.  One thing we learned about him this preseason is that in addition to slimming down and getting quicker, he can also shoot.  He made five threes in his six appearances this month, and he showed off his mid-range game too.  With Gustavo Ayon sidelined, Scott looks like he’ll be the primary backup for Millsap.

– I mentioned Dennis Schröder above, and man was he good.  Getting the starting nod, the rookie went off for 21 points on just 12 shot attempts.  Maybe starting brings out the aggressive nature in him, but he was definitely looking to score tonight.

Atlanta Hawks v Dallas Mavericks

Jared Cunningham is making his case for a roster spot.  The former Maverick showed up big in his old building tonight, scoring 14 points and getting to the free throw line 11 times.  He got a lot of playing time over the past few weeks, so we’ll see what happens when the final round of cuts are made.

– One thing that has to be concerning going into the regular season is the lack of scoring.  At times the offense has looked good, and this team is very good in the open floor, but the half-court offense is not there yet.  Only once in seven games did Atlanta score more than 89 points, and that’s not going to win many games.  A few guys have yet to find their shooting stroke (Horford and John Jenkins in particular), and they will, but without a “go-to” scorer, this team is going to have to find other ways to generate offense.

– On the other end, the defense has been good…mostly.  Coach Bud probably didn’t like the three triple-figure games opponents scored on his team this preseason, but overall the team seems to be committed on the defensive end.  Guys are active with their hands, creating turnovers, contesting shots and boxing out.  The one area that I think needs improvement is on-ball defense.  Too many guys are being put in positions where they have to help, leaving shooters open.  Other than that, I think the defense has looked good so far.

With a new team and a new coaching staff, things are going to take time.  I think we’re all ready for some meaningful basketball, and the scheduling Gods blessed the Hawks with six days off to get healthy and get some practice time in before that starts.

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Photo by Glenn James/NBAE/Getty Images

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