MEMPHIS, TN — Taurean Prince led the Hawks with 28 points, but it was not enough as the Memphis Grizzlies overpowered the Atlanta Hawks 131-117 at the FedEx Forum Friday night. While Trae Young, the No. 5 overall pick in the draft, added 20 on 7-for-18 shooting, Atlanta received 12 points each from Miles Plumlee and DeAndre’ Bembry.
“For sure not happy with the result, but I feel like I’m getting more comfortable out there,” Young said of his second NBA regular-season game. “I’m getting more comfortable with my teammates.”
The Hawks, fell way off the pace in the second quarter when the Grizzlies outscored Atlanta 40-28. From there, the Hawks never really threatened and Memphis extended its lead to 25 points in the third quarter.
“When we get down so much, and we have to battle back, we’re putting ourselves in bad spots early on,” Young said. “It’s hard for us to battle back and take the lead and things like that.
The tone was set early as the Memphis offense clicked to a 77-61 lead at the break, the 77 points matching a franchise record for points in any half.
“We didn’t start with the intensity that we wanted to start with defensively and the guys know, and they feel it and understand that,” Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce said. “We just have to apply it to the court. But we did get better (Friday night); we’ve just got to put it together for 48 minutes.”
Hawks: F Omari Spellman sat out with a sore left ankle after rolling it in Wednesday night’s loss to the Knicks. … Young’s corner 3-pointer came just before the buzzer ending the first quarter, giving him 13 points in the frame. He was outdone by 15 from Prince. … Prince’s 28 points marked the sixth straight game – spanning two seasons – that he has scored at least 20 points.
Garrett Temple, picked up in a trade from Sacramento, scored 30 points for Memphis and rookie Jaren Jackson Jr. added 24.
“The energy was more like a spectacle,” Jackson said of pregame fireworks, dancers and the performance by Memphis rapper Young Dolph in the home opener. He later added: “It’s a blur. I ain’t gonna lie. I really can’t (remember specifics).”
The young Hawks now travel to Cleveland to face Kevin Love and the Cavaliers. Tip-off is 6:00 PM from Quicken Loans Arena.