Vivlamore reporting from Philips Arena.
The Hawks took their new up-tempo offense out for another test drive Saturday.
It started fast and ran well.
The Hawks jumped on the Mavericks early, scoring the first eight points, en route to a 110-94 victory at Philips Arena.
Kyle Korver and Anthony Tolliver opened with 3-pointers and the Mavericks missed their first five shots. The Hawks (3-3) shot 48.7 percent from the field in the first half (19 of 39). By the end of the first 24 minutes, all 10 Hawks who played scored at least three points. The Hawks also got 3-pointers from five different players in building a 58-43 halftime lead. They led by as many as 19 points.
“That’s a good way to start it off,” Josh Smith said. “We have so many weapons on the perimeter and guys who can knock down jump shots. It makes it easier on us. That was a good way to start off. I think it picked our energy level up on the defensive end because we made it easier on the offense. There are going to be nights like that.”
Hawks rookie Mike Scott impressed with a game-high 17 points, including an emphatic dunk off a miss at the end of the third quarter. He had nine first-half points, converting all three field-goal and free-throw attempts.
Ivan Johnson and Lou Williams added 13 points for the Hawks. Devin Harris (11 points), Smith (10 points, 13 rebounds), Anthony Morrow (10 points) and Damion James (10 points) rounded out the double-digit scorers.
“Just playing with confidence,” Scott said of his success. “I still had some defensive breakdowns I have to watch over. My teammates got me the ball and I finished.”
Jae Crowder led the Mavericks (2-3) with 15 points.
The Hawks finished by shooting 45.7 percent from the field (37 of 81). They had 50 rebounds, including 15 on the offensive end, and 24 assists.
Hawks coach Larry Drew wanted to see his team build off their second-half effort against the Hornets Thursday. They did that and more.
“When you watch us play one of the things you clearly see is how well we move the ball,” Drew said. “When we have the ball jumping from one side to the other, particularly when teams are doubling in the post, we have shown we are a very unselfish team moving the basketball. We’ve got guys who can make shots. Early in the game, when those guys are making shots, that’s a good sign. I’ll continue to harp on the defense but … when we are making shots and executing offensively we’re pretty good.”
The Mavericks, playing without Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman, shot just 36.1 percent from the field in the first half (13 of 36), including 14.3 percent (1 of 7) from 3-point range. They finished the game shooting 37 percent (30 of 81).
With one exhibition game remaining, Friday in Detroit, Drew is hoping to get a regular lineup established. That effort was slowed by point guard Jeff Teague (ankle), shooting guard John Jenkins (hand) and center Zaza Pachulia (ankle) held out with injuries. Also, center Al Horford left the game in the second quarter with a sore right calf and did not return.
The Hawks started their sixth different starting lineup of the exhibition season with Tolliver starting at small forward with a backcourt of Harris and Korver joining Smith and Horford.
“It always helps hitting shots,” Tolliver said. “Getting going early, hitting shots early, it helps the defense. Obviously, if you are making shots they don’t have transition and it helps you get back and set up the defense.”
The Mavericks made a second-half run, closing to within 10 points in the third quarter, as Drew implored his team to step up their defensive effort. They did. The lead was back up to 20 points with a Johnson jumper on the Hawks first possession of the fourth quarter.
“I talk a lot about defense but in some instances a good defense is a solid offense,” Drew said. “I think it’s important that we as a team understand what our strengths and our weaknesses are. What’s a good shot, what’s a bad shot. We move the ball and get it to our shooters.”
Notes: Teague (sprained left ankle), Pachulia (sprained left ankle) and Jenkins (left hand contusion) did not play. Drew said there was no timetable for Teague’s return, calling the point guard day-to-day. Teague said he thought he might be out “a couple of days.” Teague and Pachulia were injured against the Hornets Thursday. Pachulia continued to play in the game but Drew held him out Saturday for precautionary reasons. … The Hawks’ practice Sunday will be open to the public. The workout begins at 3:30 p.m. at Philips Arena.
- Chris Vivlamore
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