The Atlanta Hawks’ first road game of the season didn’t go well.
They hope to do better as they begin a three-game road trip at New Orleans on Wednesday.
The Hawks bounced back from a 101-95 loss at Cleveland in their only road game so far to beat visiting Detroit 122-104 on Monday night. They’ll try to build on that performance when they face the Pelicans to start a stretch in which eight of 10 games are away from home.
“Playing the full game, that’s something Coach (Nate) McMillan has been saying,” guard Kevin Huerter said, “and we put together a full game (Monday).”
Atlanta led by 10 points at the end of the first quarter, by eight at halftime and by 16 at the end of the third quarter.
“I thought we were about business the entire game,” McMillan said.
Lou Williams came off the bench to see his first action of the season and had nine points and two assists in 17 minutes.
“I want to get him some minutes at that backup point guard position,” McMillan said of Williams. “He’s a veteran and I think he settles us down. He did it last year when he played. I like him being out there. … I like the pace that we play at when he’s out there playing.”
The Hawks had 10 assists on 14 field goals in the third quarter and finished with 24 assists.
“When you play in a rhythm and you play together with the guys we have on this roster, it’ll be tough to defend us,” McMillan said.
The Pelicans finished a three-game road trip of their own with their first victory of the season, 107-98 at Minnesota on Monday.
First-year coach Willie Green called the win “refreshing” after starting the season with three consecutive losses.
“You understand really quick how hard it is to win in this league,” Green said.
New Orleans has struggled without injured forward Zion Williamson, the team’s leading scorer and top inside presence last season.
But center Jonas Valanciunas stepped up Monday with 22 points and 23 rebounds — one shy of his career high — as the Pelicans out-rebounded the Wolves 60-41. He had a double-double before halftime.
“Jonas has been huge for us,” Green said. “I’ve had several talks with him. I’ve just told him, ‘We’re going to ride you, big fella.'”
The Pelicans saw a 21-point lead trimmed to four points late in the third quarter. But they never lost the lead and Brandon Ingram made four straight field goals down the stretch to secure the victory. He finished with a team-high 27 points.
“He’s just scratching the surface on where he wants to be,” Green said of Ingram. “He just came in at the end and closed the game for us. We need him to play like that. But more importantly, he’s finding his teammates. He’s rebounding the ball. He’s calling plays. He’s taking such a leadership role. We need him to continue on that path, and I know he will.”
–Field Level Media