Hawks stage fourth-quarter comeback to beat Grizzlies

After a slow start, the Hawks used a big fourth quarter to propel themselves to a 117-116 win Saturday in Memphis, in their final exhibition game.

After going 2-2 in the preseason, the Hawks will begin their 2020-21 regular season Wednesday in Chicago.

1. The Hawks trailed by as much as 19 points and didn’t take their first lead of the game, 111-109, until the 2:02 mark in the fourth quarter (courtesy of a Brandon Goodwin floater). Back-to-back 3′s by John Collins (who finished with 15 points and six rebounds) and Kevin Huerter (16 points, three rebounds) had cut the Hawks’ deficit to 105-100 with a little less than six minutes to play, and another 3 and layup by Solomon Hill tied things up and seemed to energize the team. The Hawks weren’t competitive at all in the second half of their 128-106 loss to the Grizzlies Thursday, so that response and ability to nab a win is a good sign. For Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce, it was also good to see all 13 available players participate (the Hawks were over the limit with 8:08 remaining in the third and Trae Young, who tallied four steals, fouled out with 8:44 to go in the fourth). “I thought our fight was tremendous, which is why we were able to just hang around all game, and then wear it down at the end,” Pierce said. “But it was good, for me it was good to see a bunch of groups, a bunch of combinations in our groups, and to be able to play everybody, and kind of get some momentum in the preseason.”

2. Second-year wing Cam Reddish got his first start of the preseason (he joined Young, De’Andre Hunter, Collins and Clint Capela in the lineup). Reddish, who has looked aggressive in the preseason, had 18 points, two assists, two rebounds and one steal. He went 4-for-9 from the field, 2-for-6 from 3 and had success at the free-throw line, making eight of nine attempts. So far, it seems Reddish is building on the strong finish to his rookie year.

3. Two new additions affected the game in different ways: Bogdan Bogdanovic didn’t have a good shooting night (3-for-12 from the field), but played some point guard in the fourth quarter and finished with seven assists and 10 points, and was a plus-11 as he helped in that late push. Danilo Gallinari led the Hawks in scoring with 19 points, going 4-for-8 from the field, 2-for-4 from 3-point range and 9-for-9 from the line, continuing to show his ability to draw fouls.

4. The Grizzlies again had success shooting from distance, shooting 39.6% from 3-point range (19-for-48) to the Hawks’ 29.7%. One 3-pointer by Dillon Brooks and two by De’Anthony Melton, all within 1:05 of each other, put the Grizzlies up 82-63 with 5:36 left in the third. In the Hawks’ loss Thursday, Memphis made 38.8% of their 3-point attempts (19-for-50). However, in the fourth quarter Saturday, the Hawks were finally able to limit that, holding them to 23.1% (3-for-13) from 3-point range in that period: “They just catch and shoot,” Pierce said. “I think we have to have a sense of urgency to make them put it on the floor, but I thought we fought. I thought we were way more physical tonight, I thought we were way more in tune with our communication with each other.”

5. The first quarter was a mess for the Hawks. They looked flat on both ends of the court and shot 29.2% from the field and made one of 10 3-point attempts, and trailed, 29-17, going into the second. The Hawks picked things up in the second quarter, finding success getting to the line (12-for-16) and shooting 52.9% from the field (50% from 3-point range) but still trailed by 10 at the half. Pierce attributed that slow start mostly to turnovers, as the Hawks tallied 18: “We were turning the ball over, that was simple. It was home run plays that weren’t needed. I think we had three quick turnovers, they hit a couple 3′s, we were just turning the ball over.”

Stat of the game

63.2% (or 12-for-19, what the Hawks shot from the field as they found an offensive groove in the fourth quarter)

Star of the game

Danillo Gallinari led the Hawks with 19 points.

Quotable

“It’s good to see. You could see that we had that fight, never say die spirit.” -- Reddish on the Hawks coming from behind

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