The first Thursday night slate of NBA basketball provided us with some intriguing matchups on paper. There were top draft picks and contenders from each conference going at it from each conference. Unfortunately, the game isn’t played on paper and the games didn’t live up to the expectations.

The first two games of the night were routine blowouts with little drama. The Atlanta Hawks dominated the Dallas Mavericks, winning 113-87. It was a methodical beatdown, as the Hawks led by seven going into halftime before more than tripling that lead, going into the fourth quarter up 22.

Jason Kidd was the seventh and final head coach to make his debut with a team this week and the sixth to lose. Wes Unseld Jr. with the Washington Wizards was the only new head coach to get a win in his first game.

The second game on the slate featured two Eastern Conference heavyweights with the Milwaukee Bucks facing the Miami Heat. This one was over before the first quarter, as Miami took a 40-17 lead at the first intermission and cruised to a 137-95 victory.

Tyler Herro had an excellent game, scoring 27 points off the bench with six rebounds and five assists. 12 Heat players scored at least five points in the game.

In the nightcap, we received a treat. The Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors put on a show. Stephen Curry bounced back in a major way, scoring 25 points and not missing a shot in the first quarter to get the Warriors a 44-27 lead.

LA didn’t lay down after that, as they responded with a 40-22 second quarter to take the lead. The game went down to the wire, with Golden State prevailing in the end 115-113.

There is plenty to unpack from these games. Let’s take a deeper dive into some of the takeaways from the games on Thursday night.

Atlanta Hawks Are Ridiculously Deep

The Atlanta Hawks made a surprise run to the Eastern Conference Finals last season, defeating the New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers in the first two rounds of the playoffs. It was only one game, but they look poised to make another run this season.

The Hawks boast one of the deepest teams in the NBA. They throttled the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday evening and did it without three players projected to be in their rotation in Lou Williams, Danilo Gallinari, and Onyeka Okongwu.

Getting De’Andre Hunter healthy and back in the lineup will be a boost for their defense, an area they sometimes struggled in. He locked down Luka Doncic when defending him in this matchup. Fellow 2019 lottery pick Cam Reddish was excellent off the bench, scoring a team-high 20 points.