UPDATE – The Hawks will start Damien Wilkins at SF for DeMarre Carroll, and the Pelicans will start Austin Rivers at SG for Anthony Morrow.
“I’d like to start Austin (today) to get him some minutes, to see how he does in that role,” Pelicans coach Monty Williams said.
The Atlanta Hawks continue their preseason road trip with their third straight game behind enemy lines, and travel to Biloxi, Mississippi to take on the New Orleans Pelicans this afternoon at 2:00 p.m. (ET).
This is also the third straight time Atlanta heads into the game short-handed, as they’ll be without Gustavo Ayon (shoulder), John Jenkins (back spams), and Lou Williams (ACL rehab).
Ayon got injured in the first quarter of the Hawks’ preseason opener on Monday against the Heat in Miami. He had an MRI exam Tuesday after returning to Atlanta and it revealed he had inflammation and a rotator cuff strain. Jenkins also had an MRI exam the same day on his lower back, but thankfully it came back negative. He didn’t travel with the team to Biloxi and is still listed day-to-day. Williams continues to rehab his left ACL injury and take part in non-contract drills, however he didn’t make the trip to Biloxi either.
The Hawks split their first two exhibition games of the season, losing on Monday to the Heat in Miami 92-87 and beating the Bobcats in Asheville 87-85 on Tuesday. The game against Charlotte was a thriller, and ended with rookie point guard Dennis Schroder getting the game-winning floater to fall with 2.1 seconds left. Monday’s loss to Miami wasn’t close until the fourth quarter. Atlanta trailed 49-30 at halftime and was down 22 points with under 10 minutes remaining in the game before mounting a furious comeback in which Schroder capped off a 26-6 run to cut the deficit to 89-87 with 24.9 seconds left. However, the Hawks couldn’t manage to tie the score and the Heat sealed the game from the foul line.
The Pelicans are a surprising 3-0 thus far, although it is just preseason. Stars Eric Gordon and newly acquired Tyreke Evans have not played yet for New Orleans, which makes their perfect start that much more astonishing. Don’t get me wrong, they do have some nice young talent, including Anthony Davis who is averaging 25 ppg, but still, who would have thought they start the preseason with road wins over the Rockets, Mavericks and Magic? Certainly not me. They way they won the games is also pretty shocking, as all three wins are by a collective seven points. They beat Houston 116-115, Dallas 94-92, and Orlando 99-95. You don’t normally see young teams pulling out close victories the way the Pelicans have to this point, especially on the road in hostile environments. It’s impressive.
Hawks — Teague / Korver /
Carroll Wilkins / Millsap / Horford
Pelicans — Holiday /
Morrow Rivers / Aminu / Davis / Stiemsma
Hawks — John Jenkins (back spasms), Gustavo Ayon (shoulder), Lou Williams (ACL rehab)
Pelicans — Tyreke Evans (ankle), Eric Gordon (ankle)
Jrue vs Jeff
Newly acquired all-star point guard Jrue Holiday is off to a slow start for the Pelicans, averaging just over 11 points per contest and shooting .378 (14-of-37) from the field through three preseason games, but Hawks floor general Jeff Teague isn’t exactly tearing up the league with his 8.5 ppg either. Despite the below average numbers from two of the top young point guards in the NBA, a head-to-head battle might just be what these two need in order to slip out of their slumps and have breakout performances.
How to Watch
Unfortunately, this game won’t be broadcast on local television or radio. But be sure to follow SDS on twitter during the game for updates and check back around 5:00 p.m. (ET) for the recap.