5QT: Grit-and-grind Griz no match for high-scoring Hawks

Taurean Prince (12) of the Hawks pushes the ball up the floor as Avery Bradley of the Grizzlies trails Wednesday night at State Farm Arena.

ATLANTA — Five quick takes on the Atlanta Hawks’ 132-111 demolition of the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night at State Farm Arena…

1. Coming into the game, the Hawks were the NBA’s highest-scoring team since All-Star break (per Hawks PR). The conflicting styles was an anticipated angle coming into the game. How would the young, but fast-paced Hawks respond to the Grizzlies’ grit-and-grind, slow-you-down style? Less than two minutes into the game, the Grizzlies called a timeout. Atlanta came out ready to play.

2. The Grizzlies are the best worst team in the NBA. The second-best worst team in the NBA may be the Hawks, but the Grizzlies are built around established veterans. Mike Conley may have never made an All-Star Game, but he’s a championship away from Hall of Fame consideration. Joakim Noah is a two-time All-Star who has revitalized himself in a reserve role. Jonas Valanciunas was a borderline All-Star for the Toronto Raptors, and Avery Bradley is a top-10 on-the-ball defender who can also score the ball at a high clip. This is not a young, tanking team. They’ve had about the most interesting season for a non-playoff team. At one point, they were a top-three team in the Western Conference in the beginning of the season. After trading Marc Gasol, it’s clear they are in rebuilding mode, but as their current roster is constructed, they have a bunch of solid veterans. They’ll continue to win games, and be a thorn in the side of playoff teams looking for an easy win. As for this summer? They will probably look to move Conley once again.

3. Culture is everything. When the New Orleans Pelicans were in Atlanta last game I posted a video of Anthony Davis heading out of the tunnel by himself. I took it as bad body language, and a guy that doesn’t want to be there (which we all know). However, people say he does that every game. Whatever it is, the Grizzlies run out of the tunnel like a team. They may not be going to the playoffs, but they have all the makings of an organization that does the right things. When they run out of the tunnel, Conley leads the team out. If they do move him this summer, they will have a serious void from a leadership standpoint.

4. The Hawks are scoring points like they’re the Houston Rockets. In the first quarter, they already had 33 points against a Grizzlies team that ranks fifth in defensive efficiency (h/t TeamRankings). This is a team that came into the season with an over/under of 23.5 wins according to Vegas. I don’t think the number would have been that low if they had known the Hawks could score like this. They ran the Grizzlies off the floor from the get-go. Unfortunately, Memphis just couldn’t keep up at the offensive end. It’s really impressive what the Hawks are doing on offense.

5. Security. After the now-infamous Russell Westbrook incident in Utah, I spoke to one of the State Farm Arena’s security supervisors. He told me his bosses have been told by the NBA that they will be more strict with spectators. They are watching for what fans say, and how they say it, etc. The incident was no joke.