NEW ORLEANS -- The Hawks looked to wrap up their road trip above .500. But the Pelicans handed them a 116-107 loss Tuesday night in their final game before Thursday’s trade deadline.
The Hawks went 2-3 on the trip.
Here are five observations:
1. The Hawks looked like a team on the tail end of a long road trip and seemed disconnected as the Pelicans clamped down in the final quarter. The Hawks managed to find a spark, going on a 10-3 run to cut a 108-92 Pelicans lead to nine with just under two minutes left in the game.
The Hawks fired off a pair of 3-pointers from Dejounte Murray then John Collins, before Trae Young made a floater and then found Collins for a dunk.
They found the scrappiness that had eluded them for much of the second half and eventually pulled within 113-107 off of a Young 3 with 0:37 remaining in the game.
But out of a timeout, Pelicans raced the ball up court, forcing the Hawks to foul Herb Jones, who made both free throws to keep it a three-possession game. Jones would then block Bogdan Bogdanovic’s 3 and the Hawks struggled to make a second-chance attempt.
“Could be some of that (mental fatigue),” Hawks coach Nate McMillan said. “We had two days where we felt like we were able to get some rest and recover and be ready for this game. We knew that they were going to be tough here tonight. And I just felt like we were step slow in everything, tonight, you know the ball was right there and just seemed like we couldn’t get to it quick enough.”
2. Turnovers killed the Hawks’ momentum as they tried to regain control of the game. The Hawks had just three turnovers in the first half but they gave up six in the third, three of which happened in the span of a minute.
The Pelicans made the Hawks uncomfortable and New Orleans capitalized by scoring seven of its points in the frame off of turnovers.
With the Hawks struggling to take care of the ball, they limited themselves to just 6-of-22 shooting from the floor. The Pelicans stretched their lead to 91-81 by the end of the third.
3. The Hawks took some time to get settled into the opening quarters in the first and second half. They allowed the Pelicans to get out to a 12-2 lead in the first four minutes of the game before they settled in and gained control of the first quarter.
On the offensive end they went 0-for-4, the only points coming off a pair of free throws from Collins. It took the Hawks nearly four minutes to make a field goal before Murray knocked down a corner 3 with 8:08 in the quarter. They ended up making 13 of their next 20 attempts from the floor.
They took that lead into the second quarter, but the Pelicans hustled as they looked to extend their win streak to three.
4. The Hawks had plenty of ball movement and limited their mistakes early, which allowed them to gain control of the game early.
Young, who missed the team’s matchup against the Nuggets on Saturday, doled out seven assists in the first quarter. He also had zero turnovers, the fifth time in his career with seven or more assists and no turnovers in a quarter and the second time this season. He had 11 assists by the end of the first half.
With the Hawks moving the ball about, they kept the Pelicans chasing and found the bottom of the basket. They made nearly 50% of their shots in the first half and as they attacked the basket and drew contact to go the line.
Young ended the night with 16 points and 16 assists.
5. While the Hawks tried to claw back into the game in the second half, they found the hot hand in Bogdanovic. The Serbian wing made five of his nine 3-point attempts to lead the bench with 22 points.
Bogdanovic has had some ups and downs this season but has been working to get his legs back under him after beginning the season 24 games after his teammates. But he’s found more of a groove over the road trip out, knocking in 44.1% of his shots from long range on 6.8 attempts per game.
“Better shooting, as I said, the conditioning, the body is coming back, the legs, they’re coming back,” Bogdanovic said. “It’s a process.”
Pelicans 116, Hawks 107
Stat to know
82 - AJ Griffin has 82 3-pointers this season, tying Salim Stoudamire (2005-06) for the fifth-most by a Hawks rookie in a season.
“Just gotta be mentally ready for every single situation and take care of the body, your mental and get ready.” Bogdan Bogdanovic on the upcoming two-game home stand.
The Hawks return home to State Farm Arena and host the Suns Thursday.
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Credit: Doug Roberson/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution