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Hawks Drop Preseason Opener to Heat, 92-87

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Oct 7, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) is defended by Atlanta Hawks point guard Jeff Teague (0) in the first quarter at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Hey! The Atlanta Hawks are back!

We briefly previewed their return to the court with a little bit of breaking news about John Jenkins on Monday, but the team was in full action on Monday night, despite a losing result at the hands of the defending champions.

It was a less-than-stellar opening half, as the Hawks managed to generate only 30 points in the first 24 minutes of play. The 19-point halftime deficit that Atlanta incurred as a result of that offensive futility (and the allowance of Chris Bosh to explode in the early going) pretty much brought the result down to the mathematics, but that didn’t stop the team from fighting in the second half.

The Hawks outscored Miami 57-43 after the break, and even got without whispering distance in the final minutes before Roger Mason, Jr. (Hello, Preseason!!) closed things out with a couple of free throws. There wasn’t a single offensive “star” of the for the Hawks, but Mike Scott (6-for-10, 13 points, 6 rebounds), Al Horford (10 points, 9 rebounds), DeMarre Carroll (5-for-10, 10 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals), and Paul Millsap (6-for-10, 12 points) all had positive contributions.

Chris Bosh had the best night of anyone on the floor, scoring 21 points in just 20 minutes for Miami, while Lebron James was “held” (I use that term loosely) to 9 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists in 21 minutes.

As a team, the Hawks shot just 4 for 23 from 3-point distance, and that would (obviously) be a concern moving forward. However, Pero Antic was 1-for-6 from long-range by himself (and 1-for-8 from the field), and I can’t imagine that being the case in many games moving forward. On the other hand, the “rookie” big man wasn’t shy in launching triples during Saturday’s open scrimmage, either, so it could be something to monitor moving forward.

Perhaps the largest takeaway from the game was that backup big man Gustavo Ayon exited the game with what is being reported as a shoulder injury. There are no definitive reports on the severity of the injury, but it would be a damaging blow if he were to miss any time.

Lastly, there several players who didn’t see the court at all. Elton Brand was presumably absent due to his relatively advanced age (no listed injury) and the fact that it is a back-to-back situation, while Royal Ivey, David Lighty, Adonis Thomas, and Damien Wilkins received bench splinters due to the always ominous “DNP-Coach’s Decision”.

The Hawks will return to preseason action on Tuesday, as they travel to Charlotte to take on the Bobcats with a 7:30 EST tip-off.