Zion Williamson shoots a layup over Atlanta's Onyeka Okongwu

Panzura postgame wrap: Hawks 123, Pelicans 107

Hawks (27-24), Pelicans (22-28)
by Jim Eichenhofer
@Jim_Eichenhofer

NBA three-point shooting records are falling on a regular basis these days, with players and teams firing at an unprecedented rate from long distance. Yet another mark was set Tuesday, as Atlanta registered the most accurate quarter in the 40-plus year history of the arc.

After a deadlock through a half, the Hawks were perfect in 11 third-period three-point attempts, the most any club has ever made without a miss in a single quarter (the previous best was 9-for-9). That turned a halftime deadlock into a 17-point edge for Atlanta, on the strength of a 46-29 margin in that stanza.

In Zion Williamson’s return to the lineup from injury, the forward was his usual dominant and efficient self. Meanwhile, Isaiah Thomas’ debut produced a hot first-half stretch offensively, before he finished with 10 points on 4/13 shooting.

IT WAS OVER WHEN…

Lou Williams drifted toward the left corner and sank a high-degree-of-difficulty, contested three-pointer, giving Atlanta a 114-94 lead with roughly seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Stan Van Gundy removed his regulars a few minutes later, acknowledging the outcome had been decided, with the Pelicans headed to Brooklyn to face the Nets in less than 24 hours.

PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME

Williamson posted his 25th consecutive game of 20-plus points on better than 50 percent shooting, tying Shaquille O’Neal for the most on record in that category. He went 12/18 from the field, while showing more positive signs at the foul line, going 9/10. The second-year pro shot 69.5 percent on free throws prior to the All-Star break, but in his 11 games since then, he’s at 76.0 percent, hitting 79 of his 104 attempts.

BY THE NUMBERS

428: Days since Thomas played for the Washington Wizards on Feb. 3, 2020, his last NBA game prior to Tuesday’s game in Atlanta. “It felt good,” Thomas said of returning from a physical standpoint. “The biggest thing was we lost, so it didn’t feel as good. But for me individually, I felt good and was moving. I got to my spots. I just didn’t knock down my shots.” Thomas went 4/13 from the field.

12/38: New Orleans three-point shooting. In other words, the Pelicans made eight fewer treys than the Hawks, even though they attempted seven more.

REVISITING THREE KEYS TO VICTORY PRESENTED BY FANDUEL

LONZO ENCORE

Two days after he shot 8/15 on threes in Houston, Lonzo Ball struggled on his perimeter looks, but made contributions in a range of other areas, particularly defensively. After an 0/5 opening quarter from deep, he finished 4/14 on trifectas, but notched 11 assists, three blocks and two steals.

BACKCOURT ROTATION

Ball and Eric Bledsoe both ended up getting over 30 minutes of playing time, but not by much, a reasonable workload in the first game of a back-to-back. Thomas logged 25 minutes in his first regular season NBA action since February 2020.

DEFENDING THE ARC

Atlanta finished 20/31 on three-pointers, led by Trae Young going 6/7 and Bogdan Bogdanovic at 5/8. That 20/31 number doesn’t even do justice to how the Hawks shot, because during the game-changing stretch in the second half, they were machine-like. Atlanta was 17/22 overall at one stage, before cooling off late.

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2020-21 Game #50: Pelicans at Hawks

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