With smothering defense, the Hawks (1-0) beat the Mavericks 113-87 in their season opener Thursday at State Farm Arena.

Next up, the Hawks will play in Cleveland on Saturday.

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Below are some takeaways from the win:

1. Guarding Luka Doncic is no small task, but De’Andre Hunter did a standout job keeping him in check. Hunter blocked shots against both Doncic and the 7-foot-3 Kristaps Porzingis (11 points, four turnovers) and was all over the place on defense, looking fully himself after battling some knee soreness in the preseason. Doncic worked his way up to 18 points (6-17 FG, 2-7 from 3-point range, 4-4 FT), though much of that came in the second half with the game out of hand. Hunter added 11 points, three rebounds, an assist and a steal. “Really good,” Nate McMillan said of Hunter. “He really set the tone for us by just making him work. Good players like Luka, you’re not going to stop those guys, but if you can make them work and make it hard for them, make it difficult for them to score over the top, not allow them to get clean looks or break you down and create opportunities for others, you’re doing a good job.”

2. Although Hunter’s performance was key, it wasn’t just his play on defense disrupting the Mavericks. John Collins (16 points, nine rebounds) was physical, adding two blocks, Cam Reddish was scrappy off the bench with a steal, Solomon Hill added two steals and Clint Capela (12 points, 13 rebounds) had two blocks, as well. It should come as no surprise that the Hawks are better on defense when they have their best defensive players available, and Hunter and Reddish missed much of last season because of injury, but this was especially impressive.

3. Reddish missed a few shots early, but ultimately came off the bench to lead the Hawks in scoring with 20 points (7-15 FG). He went 3-for-4 from 3-point range and was a force on both ends for the second unit, showing the benefits of the Hawks’ depth: “I thought he played a beautiful game, I really did,” McMillan said of Reddish. “Cam is the guy that really establishes that defense on that second unit. I just thought he had a solid game. He’s a two-way player and tonight he showed that he can play on both sides of the floor.”

4. Trae Young’s shot wasn’t falling in the first half (2-9 FG), and it’s a good sign for the Hawks that they still had a seven-point lead at that point. But he dominated in the third quarter, with 12 points and nine assists, helping them work up to a 22-point lead entering the fourth quarter. Overall, the Hawks had six players score in double-digits: Reddish (20), Young (19), Collins (16), Capela (12), Hunter (11) and Bogdan Bogdanovic (11).

5. Yes, it’s just one game, and last year’s playoff run showed the Hawks it’s a marathon, not a sprint. But it also showed them that every game counts, when playoff seeding is eventually going to be on the line and the Hawks hoping to finish in the top 4 in the Eastern Conference. “We know how important it is, after being in the playoffs, to take and approach every game seriously, try to get a higher seed than we did last year,” Young said. “So obviously it’s just one game, but it was a very important to come out and leave a statement obviously at home, and make this place a tough place to play.”

Hawks 113, Mavs 87 (box score)

Stat of the game: 33.3% (what the Mavericks shot from the field, frustrated by the Hawks’ tough defense)

Star of the game: Hunter (he may not have led the team in scoring, but Hunter’s defensive performance on Doncic was vital)

Quotable: “We can tell Dre ‘Sic ‘em,’ on anybody, and he’s up for the challenge, running over screens, getting hit, doing whatever he needs to do to be a great defender. Love having Dre back out on the court and healthy.” (Collins on Hunter’s performance and how he changes the Hawks’ defense)

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