Five observations from Hawks loss to Mavericks (exhibition)

Five observations from the Hawks’ 108-94 exhibition loss to the Mavericks at McCamish Pavilion. 

1. The Hawks committed 76 turnovers over their first four games. That number is mitigated by the often-sloppy nature of exhibition games, and also because 18 of those giveaways were charged to players who do not figure to be part of the regular rotation. But the Hawks starters were loose with the ball from the beginning against the Mavs.

They had five turnovers within the first five minutes and nearly of them were the result of carelessness. Dennis Schroder got caught mid-air with nowhere to pass, Ersan lyasova made a lazy pass to the post and Dewayne Dedmon fumbled a bounce pass underneath the basket. And then rookie John Collins got in on the early awfulness by shuffling his feet and traveling.

2. The defense wasn’t any better. The Mavericks had success attacking the basket early (with Dedmon strangely passive protecting the rim) and setting up open looks for 3’s. The Mavericks were 10 of 24 on 3-pointers in the first half and 19 of 48 for the game. The Mavericks got lots of open looks on pick-and-pops, usually after only a pass or two, and it didn’t matter which lineup they had on the floor.

Update: Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said some of the open threes were a function of his team working on specific regardless of the action the Mavs ran. “They got loose a little bit on some things that to some degree might be expected. And then there were some three-pointers where we weren’t just staying attached enough. It’s an area where we we can certainly improve but there were some things they were doing that made us vulnerable to threes.

Dallas reserves made 13 of 33 three-point tries (unofficially).

“A lot of credit to Dallas,” Budenholzer said. “Playing the group that they played, I thought those guys really got after it and competed, played really hard, executed and shot the ball really well.  I thought we just weren’t good tonight in a lot of different areas. But I thought after the first eight to 10 minutes I thought we started to match the intensity and match the effort. Still weren’t really able to change the game. We’ve got to be the team that’s got the greatest effort.”

Mavs guard Dennis Smith Jr. took advantage of some lackluster Hawks defense. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

3. Related to No. 2: Schroder didn’t seem eager to defend pick-and-rolls or run through off-ball screens, and Dennis Smith Jr. and Yogi Ferrell took advantage. You watch a game like this and understand why Schroder’s defensive metrics are poor. There are times when it doesn’t take much for him to stop chasing the play.

When Smith and Ferrell got it going, Schroder tried answering back with some drives to the basket and it didn’t go well. It was only an exhibition game but, again, we’ve seen that before too. Schroder was the only starter on the bench to begin the third quarter.

Update: Budenholzer said the plan was for Schroder to play one half (he logged 18 minutes. “He played in the European championships and played a lot this summer. I think it was good for him. He played a couple more minutes than probably normal in the first half and then let some other guys play the second half.”

4. The Hawks finally got something going late in the third quarter against Mavs reserves. A lineup with Josh Magette, Tyler Dorsey, DeAndre’ Bembry, Mike Muscala and Collins got them within nine points late in the third quarter. Muscala made a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 81-74 early in the fourth.

But the Mavs kept getting easy, open looks from 3-point range and making them. Maalik Wayns broke down the defense and fed Gian Clavell for a 3 and, after Muscala bricked a 3, Maximilian Kleber drew attention and passed out to Wayns for another 3-pointer. Those baskets pushed the lead to 94-81 and the Hawks never got closer than 13 points from there.

5. Marco Belinelli sat out for the fourth straight game.

“I think he and we are being probably extra cautious, overly-cautious,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “He played a lot this summer. I think he’s going to be fine. I think it’s better to not take a chance or risk anything.”

Belinelli said this week he will be ready for the season opener. He’s been participating in full-speed shooting drills after practice so I believe him.

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