Bogdan Bodanovic scored 26 points, Kevin Huerter added 24 and five other Atlanta players scored in double figures as the short-handed Hawks beat the injury-slowed New Orleans Pelicans 126-103 on Friday night.
The Hawks led 55-54 at halftime and scored 37 points in the third quarter – their highest total in that period this season – to take a 94-79 lead entering the fourth quarter.
“It was just a professional approach,” Atlanta coach Nate McMillan said, referring to going .500 on the road trip. “I thought we came out with a business mindset to dig down deep on this last game of a long road trip to try to win this game.
“We wanted to pretty much approach this game as if it was the fourth quarter, the last game of a road trip. We needed to dig deep to be strong and, you know, play this game. It was a collective effort by everybody.”
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The Pelicans played without four starters, including Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, and struggled offensively. They went 4:30 without a field goal to start the third quarter, and the Hawks took full advantage, outscoring New Orleans 28-10 to extend their lead to 83-64.
Clint Capela, who finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks, scored eight points in the quarter, and the Hawks shot 63% in the period, going 15 of 24.
“We just take it as a challenge,” Capela said of the two weeks on the road. “I know it’s a marathon. It’s a long journey. My head is just trying to keep up with it, do what I do, try to block out, rebound, running and just stay focused on all the things that I do best.”
Huerter was held scoreless in an overtime victory over San Antonio on Thursday night but made 10 of 15 from the floor against New Orleans.
“It’s obviously a really good feeling,” Huerter said. “We didn’t want to go out on a sour note and this road trip, and hopefully we got some momentum going.”
In his second game since being acquired by the Hawks, Lou Williams scored 19 points.
Rookie Kira Lewis Jr. scored a career-high 21 points to lead New Orleans.
After trailing the Pelicans 34-28 in the first quarter, the Hawks went on a 12-4 run in the second period to take a 43-40 lead, with Clint Capela scoring four points.
The Hawks got 12 points from Huerter and 10 points from Bogdanoic in the first half on their way to a 55-54 lead at the break.
Atlanta outscored the Pelicans 27-20 in the second quarter, holding New Orleans to 33% shooting in the period, including 1 of 8 from long range.
Eric Bledsoe led the Pelicans with 10 points in the half, but he missed all four of his 3-point attempts. New Orleans was 3 of 15 from long distance.
Hawks: Atlanta’s injured consisted of John Collins (ankle), Danilo Gallinari (Achilles), De’Andre Hunter (knee), Cam Reddish (Achilles), Trae Young (knee) and Kris Dunn (ankle). … Coach Nate McMillan said he supports the decision by Major League Baseball to move its All-Star Game out of Atlanta due to a new voting rights law signed by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. “I really think it’s great that they’re bringing attention to what’s happening in Georgia,” McMillan said. “I really don’t get it — trying to find ways to keep people from having their right to vote.”
Pelicans: New Orleans injured included Zion Williamson (thumb), Brandon Ingram (toe), Lonzo Ball (hip), Steven Adams (ankle) and Josh Hart (surgery Friday on a torn UCL ligament in right thumb). … Hart, a scrappy defender and rebounder off the bench, could miss the remainder of the season. … “Injuries are always frustrating, but they’re always part of the game,” coach Stan Van Gundy said. “I’ve been at this a long time and these things happen. You’ve got to be ready to play.” … Naji Marshall made his first NBA start. … Free agent PG Isaiah Thomas, who played for the Wizards last year, is expected to sign a 10-day contract.
Hawks: Host Golden State on Sunday.
Pelicans: At Houston on Sunday.