Hawks Top Pistons In Josh Smith’s Return

Wednesday, November 20, 2013
By Robby Kalland

Detroit Pistons v Atlanta Hawks

Josh Smith‘s return to Philips Arena was a sloppy one as the Hawks ended up winning 93-85 behind 19 points from Paul Millsap. Millsap sat out against the Heat with an elbow injury, and his rested legs were a big advantage for the Hawks with both teams playing their second game of a back-to-back. He went 8-of-14 from the field and was excellent on the defensive end against Greg Monroe and Smith.

Hawks vs. Pistons
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Game Recap

“It did [help taking the night off to rest the elbow],” Millsap said. “I just really wanted to get it to calm down before we get too far into the season. I was able to buy some time for it….I was just attacking the rim, getting to the basket. It was an ugly game, but we found ways to win.”

The entire Hawks’ frontcourt played exceptional defense holding the Pistons’ trio of bigs (Monroe, Smith, and Andre Drummond) to 28 points on 13-of-34 (38.2%) shooting. Smith struggled in his return to Atlanta going 5-for-15 from the field and was 0-for-4 from three-point range.

The back-to-back clearly had an effect on both teams out of the gate, and the game got off to an incredibly sloppy start, with neither team able to find any kind of rhythm offensively. The first quarter ended with the Hawks up 15-13 and the two teams shot a combined 12-for-44 (27.3%) from the floor.

The Pistons scored 33 points in the second quarter to take a 46-43 lead into the half thanks to 12 points in the quarter from Rodney Stuckey and eight points from Brandon Jennings. Stuckey and Jennings were 7-of-11 from the field and 3-of-3 from three-point range in the second quarter. Millsap made all four of his field goal attempts in the second quarter for 11 points to help keep the Hawks within striking distance.

The Hawks took control in the second half outscoring the Pistons 50-39 as Jeff TeagueMike Scott, and DeMarre Carroll got going on the offensive end. Teague finished the game with 18 points and seven assists, along with five turnovers. After starting the game 1-for-4, Teague got more aggressive attacking the rim and finished the night 8-for-14 from the floor.

Scott came off the bench to score 11 points in 18 minutes, continuing his solid offensive play of late. Scott has put up double figures scoring in the last three games for the Hawks, and has established himself as a key piece of the Hawks’ bench rotation.

Detroit Pistons v Atlanta Hawks

Carroll recorded his first double-double as a Hawk with 11 points and 12 rebounds, along with three assists, two steals, and two blocks. He had eight of those 11 points in the second half and did a tremendous job on the defensive end against Smith. Carroll coaxed Smith into taking outside jump-shots, where he was 0-for-9 (he was 5-of-6 within eight feet of the rim). Carroll made it difficult for Smith to get the ball on the block, and played off of him on the perimeter, which Smith obliged by taking jumpers.

“I took shots that I normally take, but they just didn’t drop tonight,” Smith said about his shooting performance.

Coach Bud highlighted DeMarre’s energy on both ends of the floor after the game.

“You can count on DeMarre in that way. We talk to him about how he brings an edge to us defensively. I think he’s really committed to being a defensive rebounder. We knew how important it was to keep them off the offensive boards. His general competitiveness and activity was really big for us throughout the night.”

Al Horford had a quite night offensively with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting, but was a monster defensively. Horford had eight rebounds and five blocked shots, and handled the Pistons’ size and length very well.

The Hawks had turnover problems for the second straight night with 22 turnovers leading to 13 Pistons points after having 24 turnovers leading to 22 points against the Heat. The Hawks had four players with three or more turnovers (Teague, Scott, Millsap, and Cartier Martin), but were able to overcome that sloppy play by shooting 50.7% as a team with 23 assists on 36 made shots.

Kyle Korver made only two shots, but both were three-pointers as he pushed his consecutive games with a three-pointer streak to 85, just four behind Dana Barros. Korver also added five boards, two assists, and two steals to his pair of three-pointers.

Lou Williams played in his second game since returning from ACL surgery and finished the night with six points and five assists in just over 14 minutes of play.

The Hawks will continue their four games in five days in Detroit on Friday for a rematch with the Pistons before returning home to face the Celtics on Saturday night.

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Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images

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