Throughout all of the preseason, there has been a lot of hand-wringing and worrying about the health of the Hawks. In what Coach McMillan billed as a dress rehearsal, the Hawks put on a show that alleviated the anxiety among fans. The Hawks defeated the Miami Heat 127-92 to finish the preseason with a record of 2-2.
Yes, the Heat roster consisted largely of their G-League team, but it wasn't the score that excited Hawks fans. It was the synergy the team played with from the tip-off to the final buzzer. Each player fed off each other, and everyone ate.
Per usual, Trae Young was the catalyst to the team's offense. For over 30 minutes, the floor general got anywhere he wanted on the court and put together a game most players only dream of - and his performance still isn't the main storyline from the game.
The Hawks post play was dominating. John Collins quietly logged a double-double with multiple highlight dunks which fans have grown accustomed to seeing.
To make the night even better, Clint Capela returned to action to complete the starting five. After the game, last season's league-leading rebounder said, "I feel really good. First of all, I felt in shape." He explained that conditioning had been a major priority for him, even when it meant getting to the gym before everyone else and leaving after they were already gone. "I'm really satisfied with the work I did when I was not practicing."
Coach McMillan was pleased to see his starting five together and clicking from the start. "We established the tempo we wanted from the very start. 33 assists and only 10 turnovers, we'll take that every night."
It's worth mentioning how good De'Andre Hunter looked in his time on the court. It was clear the team wanted to get him involved early. Hunter scored 11 points on 4-5 shooting in the first six minutes of the game. After the game, everyone wanted to know how his knee was feeling.
"I felt pretty good. I wouldn't say I'm 100% yet, but I'm definitely really close." Hunter said there was some swelling after his first preseason game against the Cavaliers, but not to the same extent as last year. "I'm basically past that point now."
Coach McMillan came into training camp preaching about conditioning and chemistry. There wasn't much of either in the first preseason game - a blowout loss in Miami. But tonight was a complete role reversal from 10 days ago. Although the team still was without Danilo Gallinari and Onyeka Okongwu, it was the healthiest they have been since McMillan took over as head coach.
Okay Hawks fans, go get some sleep. The regular season tips off one week from tonight against the Dallas Mavericks in a nationally televised game. It's going to be a long and exciting journey this year. Thank you for your support of AllHawks.com. Stay tuned in for breaking news and analysis for your Atlanta Hawks.
Trae Young - 27 PTS, 15 AST
De'Andre Hunter - 19 PTS, 3 REB
John Collins - 13 PTS, 11 REB
Max Strus - 18 PTS, 9 REB
Javonte Smart - 20 PTS, 5 REB
Micah Potter - 16 PTS, 16 REB