Tonight was the night that the Atlanta Hawks organization had been anticipating for over a year. More so than any roster moves (with the exception of the draft) the Hawks have been in overdrive promoting their 192 million dollar renovation. On Friday the media got to take a tour of the new State Farm arena and then on Saturday it was time for the fans to take a peak at the Hawks shiny new home.
Wednesday was the day of reckoning, no more pictures of guys with hard hats and no more VIP tours showcasing the new bells and whistles in the new arena. The house was clean and it was time to let company in.
Everything would be different even for the media because so much had changed you really didn’t know where to go at times. The seating had changed, the parking was different, the press conference room had changed, and the locker rooms had moved so it was a lot.
The new arena has a wide open feel to it from the minute you walk in. It’s almost like they took out all the barriers and now you can see what’s going on from anywhere in the arena. In the center of the arena is the new wrap around projection screen that brings new meaning to the term high definition.
And the crazy thing … There was still a basketball game that had to be played.
The Dallas Mavericks came into town with highly touted rookie Luka Doncic who came in averaging 18 points per game. Going into this game the media was going to drive the Luka Doncic vs Trae Young narrative into the ground. Hey we get it. We’re not hating the players or the game but the pieces around those two rookies would be the difference in the ball game.
Trae Young got into early foul trouble and Coach Pierce admitted that it was hard for him to get into a rhythm.
“He only played like 9 mins in the 1st half, you never really get in a rhythm when you get in foul trouble. Then he picked up his 4th (foul) so he was just out of sync, out of rhythm. I’m not worried about the shots. ”
Pierce also talked about how being able to just stay on the floor more in the 2nd half, especially the 4th qtr was the key to Young finishing the game strong. He didn’t shoot well but finished with 17 points and 5 assist.
On the other side of the ball, Luka Doncic came out the gate strong putting up 10 points in the first quarter. The Mavs biggest least would reach 26 but the trio of Kent Bazemore, Taurean Prince and DeAndre Bembry would bring that Hawks back into the ball game. Bazemore and Prince would combine for 56 points and Bembry would have a game high 16 rebounds. Bembry was also very good defensively and plans to play a big role for the Hawks this season sharing some duties at point guard.
On a night when actual basketball was the secondary story the Hawks overcame a 26 point deficit and treated fans to a 111-104 victory. After all that was that was talked about it and all the money spent, sometimes the team getting a victory is the greatest memory a fan will go home with it.
That’s something money can’t buy.