Last night’s 111-104 victory over the Mavericks was an entire event. More than just a home game, it was the christening of their new home, State Farm Arena. The celebration included the Hawks first home game of the 2018/19 season, fans experiencing state of the art amenities like Killer Mike’s “Swag Shop” and Top Golf Suites, a national anthem performance by Zac Brown Band, and the highly anticipated performances from Atlanta-based rapper Future.
To be a sports fan in Atlanta is to come close to a heart attack every game, in every sport, all the time. All pomp and circumstance aside, the Hawks were on a path to getting blown out in their first game at home.
Dallas seemed unstoppable in the first quarter, putting up a staggering 42 points with ease. It was about halfway through the second quarter when Atlanta got it together and turned the tide with an 11-0 run.
Kent Bazemore was a key part in the Hawks win. Bazemore put up a team-high 32 points and dished out seven assists to help Atlanta overcome Dallas. The combination of Baze and Taurean Prince (24 points, four assists, three rebounds) made all the difference last night.
“Our energy level picked up,” said a confident Bazemore. “Coach used a great word after the game – resilience. For me, it’s (also) a part of my non-profit. So it’s a word that I love. We stayed resilient. I’m super-proud of Trae Young. The first three quarters were rough, but down the stretch, he got the crowd into it and he really helped us separate down at the end.”
Trae Young struggled in the first half and had some foul trouble early on. He was able to get back on track in the second half and ended the game with 17 points. But in the battle of the rookies, it would be Dallas’ Luka Dončić that would arise victoriously: 34 minutes played, 21 points, and nine rebounds.
Jeremy Lin and Vince Carter had a quiet night, both combining for less than 10 points. But the unsung hero of the night would be DeAndre’ Bembry as he put up a quiet double-double (11 points and 16 rebounds).
“It feels amazing to come out here and get those type of minutes in this type of arena,” said Bembry. “First game in State Farm Arena was pretty dope. I liked the energy. I was just happy to be out there healthy.”
The Hawks improve to 2-2 on the season and will prepare to host the Chicago Bulls this Saturday, Oct. 27 at 7:30 p.m.
Photo: Hakim Wright