Opening Night Takeaways: Atlanta Hawks
Trae Young picked up exactly where he left off last season.
The second-year phenom came out of the gates firing on all cylinders in the first game of the season for the Atlanta Hawks. Last year’s Rookie of the Year candidate finished with 38 points while dishing out 9 assists in the Hawks’ 117-100 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Thursday night.
Despite a 26-point first half by Young, Derrick Rose and Andre Drummond helped Detroit take the lead into halftime by scoring 15 and 14 points respectively. Rose did so efficiently, by shooting 7-8 in the initial half. Atlanta picked up the pace even more in the second half with help from John Collins who finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Jabari Parker also had an impressive game off the bench by scoring 18 points on 8-11 attempts.
Travis Schlenk had high praise for his rookies during the contest.
“We are extremely happy with our young talent and all the guys we drafted are capable of playing well on offense and defense. They’ll become acclimated to the speed of the game and really blossom under Lloyd [Pierce] who is a perfect fit for these young guys.”
Those rookies did indeed help with Atlanta’s attack as DeAndre Hunter scored 14 and Bruno Fernando added seven. Cam Reddish only scored one point off of a free throw attempt. Reddish only took six shots in the game but was clearly one of the most versatile defenders on the floor for Atlanta. It is worth noting that the Hawk’s defensive prowess held Detroit to 27 percent from the field in the second half.
For Detroit, Andre Drummond finished the game with 21 points and 12 boards while Rose poured on 27 points. Luke Kennard was the only other double-digit scorer with 13 while Tony Snell added 9.
For the first game of the year, Atlanta executed well offensively and looked to be in a good rhythm, even with the newer acquisitions of Jabari Parker and Evan Turner. The only exception to this would perhaps be Alex Len who looked out of sorts at times in the fast-paced Hawks offense. Hopefully as the season progresses, more chemistry will be developed between the big man and the rest of the team.
Atlanta still looked lackluster on the defensive side of the ball at times but are still greatly improved from last season. A big part of this is due to the presence of rookies Fernando, Hunter, and Reddish.
Trae Young is improved from last year and seemed even more comfortable with the ball in his hands. If the young guard can stay consistent to the finish this year, he will likely gain an All-Star distinction.
ATL shot 36% from long-range compared to Detroit’s 27%.
Kevin Huerter is dealing with a “tweaked knee” according to Coach Lloyd Pierce and was placed on a 15-minute restriction. Huerter played 14 minutes and looked slightly out of sync after shooting 0-3. He did grab four boards and distribute five assists. Atlanta is taking this day by day.
Vince Carter made history by appearing in his 22nd season by coming in off the bench for 10 minutes for the Hawks.
Blake Griffin is out with a hamstring injury and will be re-evaluated in two weeks.
Hawks will host Orlando this Sunday and the Pistons will host Philadelphia Saturday.