The Atlanta Hawks completed a never-ending road trip on Friday with their eighth consecutive game away from home. Before tip-off, the story of the night was the injury report on both sides. The Hawks were missing Trae Young, John Collins, De’Andre Hunter, Danilo Gallinari, Cam Reddish and Kris Dunn, with the Pelicans missing Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Steven Adams and Josh Hart. As such, there were roster challenges for each squad but, in the end, the Hawks were simply the better team on the way to a 126-103 road victory.
Though the Hawks scored first, the Pelicans zoomed to a 10-3 lead, prompting an early timeout from Nate McMillan. All 10 points came in the paint for New Orleans, and it was certainly a wobbly start for the visitors.
The offense did begin to come alive, however, scoring 14 points in approximately three minutes to stay in touch. Part of that push resulted in a 9-2 run that tied the game at 21-21.
New Orleans did take a 34-28 lead after the first quarter, though it could’ve been worse for the Hawks. The Pelicans shot 56 percent and scored a whopping 22 points in the paint in the opening frame, leaving Atlanta in search of improved resistance.
The second quarter started in much more positive fashion for the Hawks. Atlanta used an 8-2 run to tie the game at 36-36. That extended to 15-6 overall, with jumpers from Bogdan Bogdanovic and Lou Williams giving the Hawks the lead at 43-40 with 7:05 left in the half.
It wasn’t all roses in the second quarter for the Hawks, with the Pelicans taking a small lead in the final 90 seconds. Atlanta finished strong, though, and took a one-point lead into halftime between 22 combined points from Bogdanovic and Kevin Huerter.
Then, the Hawks came out of the locker room flying with a 12-2 run in the third quarter, taking their largest lead to that point at 67-56.
After the Pelicans finally countered, the Hawks kicked into high gear again with a separate 16-3 run to push the lead up to 83-64. Hot shooting was a big factor, but Clint Capela also performed at a high level on both ends.
Onyeka Okongwu got into the act as well, contributing at a high level on both ends and continuing his strong recent play.
With a 39-point showing, the Hawks set a new season-high for scoring in the third quarter. Atlanta shot 15-of-24 from the floor and 5-of-11 from three, taking full control of the game with a 94-79 lead.
The visiting team continued its high-level play to begin the fourth quarter, pushing the lead up to 20 when Huerter found the bottom of the net from the left corner.
Atlanta led by as many as 25 in the fourth quarter, cruising to the victory. It was a balanced, impressive effort from the short-handed Hawks, with Bogdanovic leading the way. After scoring a season-high 28 points on Thursday, Bogdanovic scored 26 points on 9-of-17 shooting with 6-of-11 from three-point range.
Elsewhere, Huerter was fantastic, finishing with a season-high 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting. Capela added 14 points, 10 rebounds and six blocked shots, with 19 points and eight assists from Williams. Okongwu (career-high 11 points, nine rebounds), Snell (10 points) and Goodwin (10 points, five assists) also provided valuable contributions.
With the win, the Hawks finish up the eight-game trip with a 4-4 record, and that qualifies as an overall positive, particularly given the injuries. Atlanta now sports a 25-24 overall record for the season.
The Hawks will now enjoy a day of rest and travel on Saturday before returning to action at State Farm Arena on Sunday with a matchup against the Golden State Warriors.