Ten observations from Hawks victory over Grizzlies

Ten observations from Hawks 108, Grizzlies 82. . . .

1. This was the first time since the Kings came through Philips Arena in November that an opponent looked over-matched by the Hawks. It may not have been good entertainment but it was a good victory for the Hawks, assuming you aren't on Team Tank. The Hawks took an 8-6 lead and never gave back the advantage. The lead was 79-54 after three quarters, at which point the Grizzlies had committed 23 turnovers and made 22 field goals.

2. Marco Belinelli got a DNP-CD as the Hawks held him out while seeking trades for him . If Belinelli is eventually dealt (as expected) it should open more minutes on the wing for rookie Tyler Dorsey, who had already cracked the rotation. Dorsey (10 points on 10 shots, six assists) was the first sub off the bench.

3. Ersan Ilyasova returned to the starting lineup after sitting out the Knicks game and was effective in 19 minutes: eight points on four shots, four rebounds and some good interior defense. The Hawks have received trade interest for Ilyasova, too, but he can veto any deal under CBA rules. He's invoked that right so far but say she's open to accepting the right trade.

4. Taurean Prince was letting it fly early, which I think is a good thing over the long term even when he’s not making 3-pointers. He wasn’t tonight: 0-for-4 on 3's, 1-for-8 overall. It hardly mattered.

5. Dennis Schroder (22 points on 15 shots, five assists) appeared to be having more fun tonight than he had been lately. Maybe it was because Schroder knew that neither Andrew Harrison nor any of his teammates had a chance to stay in front of  him.

6. The “grit-and-grind” Grizzlies are no more but they still play at the NBA’s slowest pace. They played a deliberate game in the first quarter despite coach J.B. Bickerstaff’s constant appeals to his players to run. In their defense, it wasn't pretty for the Grizzlies whenever they did try to play fast. They had eight turnovers in the first quarter and and were 6-for-20 from the field, including 0-for-5 on 3's.

7. Grizzlies center Marc Gasol started to get into a groove early in the second quarter. But then he went to the bench with his third foul, a forearm shiver to Malcolm Delaney’s chest. The Hawks then went on an 11-5 run for their largest lead to that point, 37-26, and swelled their advantage to 16 points at halftime. Gasol (eight points, six rebounds) wasn't much of a factor in this one.

8. The Hawks have tried to play faster lately but, at shooatround today, Kent Bazemore insisted: “We can play either way.” The Hawks proved it while gaining separation in the second quarter. They swarmed the Grizzlies on the perimeter, protected the rim and rebounded seven of Memphis' 10 missed shots. Memphis had more turnovers (eight) than field goals (seven) in the period.

9. After a rough outing at the Knicks, John Collins had his usual bounce (15 points on nine shots, 10 rebounds in 25 minutes). He provided some entertainment by attacking the rim in the fourth quarter. In the second quarter the Grizzlies didn’t have much of a chance to score inside with Collins and Dewayne Dedmon patrolling the rim (Memphis was 2-for-9 in the paint for the period).

10. Dedmon (11 points on six shots) made his first four field-goal attempts, including a 3-pointer. He's 24-for-61 on 3-pointers this season (39 percent) after attempting one (a heave) over his first four NBA seasons.

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Michael Cunningham
Michael Cunningham
Michael Cunningham has covered the Hawks and other beats for the AJC since 2010.