Atlanta Hawks fans certainly got a closer game than expected. Their 102-99 victory over the now 1-4 New Orleans Pelicans only featured seven lead changes and five ties. It also featured each team opening a half holding the other below 20 points and was fairly even in points in the paint (52-48) and fastbreak points (14-12).
The Hawks did have a decent edge in second-chance points (19-12) as they out-rebounded New Orleans 55-44.
But after entering the fourth quarter with a seven-point lead, the Hawks found themselves struggling to score as the Pelicans went on a 15-5 run to start the final frame. They went nearly three full minutes without a field goal.
The Atlanta Hawks got a big fourth-quarter performance on the glass from John Collins against the Pels
In theory, this should have been a cakewalk for the Hawks. They swept the Pels last season and did not struggle to do so, even getting one win without Trae Young. But that’s why they play the games. Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram didn’t play in either of those games last season and, boy, did he make a difference in this one.
Ingram had 18 points entering the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s game. He finished with 20 after a two-point, 1-for-5 shooting display to close.
De’Andre Hunter is the man to thank for that. He helped hold Ingram to 2-of-11 shooting in the second and fourth quarters. He even forced a tough look on the final shot that would have sent the game to overtime.
Offensively, Young has to be gaining some traction in the early MVP discussion after he dropped 31 points (including 18 in the second half and eight in the fourth quarter) on his way to becoming the fastest player in franchise history to reach 5000 career points. He also had seven assists and five rebounds.
It’s his second straight game with at least 30 points, seven assists, and three boards.
Even with him continuing to show the league’s rule changes regarding “unnatural movements” when shooting the basketball can’t stop him, Young wasn’t the Hawks stud in this one.