Hawks Battle But Come Up Short in Detroit
The Hawks (25-29) put forth a gritty effort in Detroit, but were not able to pull out the victory as the Pistons (23-32) got a few late stops and timely Kyle Singler three-pointers on their way to a 115-107 victory. The Pistons got big nights from their bigs as Andre Drummond, Josh Smith, and Greg Monroe took advantage of the Hawks’ depleted frontcourt and combined for 59 points and 36 rebounds — each with a double-double.
|Hawks vs. Pistons|
The Hawks started Shelvin Mack at the point with Jeff Teague out with an ankle injury. Mack delivered a career-high 21 points to go with six assists and just one turnover. He played 38 minutes and did a terrific job — as he has all season — running the offense with controlled aggression.
Paul Millsap led the Hawks with 23 points, eight rebounds and four assists. He had a bit of a scare in the third quarter when he banged knees with Monroe and was forced out of the game, but it turned out to not be a serious injury and he was able to return. Millsap shot well from the perimeter, making 3-of-4 from the three-point line, which forced the Pistons’ bigs to step out of the paint to defend him.
Mike Scott also had a big night as the only healthy bench big on the roster. Scott came in and gave the Hawks great production with 20 points and five rebounds on 9-of-16 shooting. Scott, Millsap, and Elton Brand — seven points and a team-high nine rebounds — were forced to once again to split the 96 minutes at power forward and center between them. In the first half, they were extremely successful, but the Pistons’ size was too much as they finished with 22 second-chance points off of 16 offensive rebounds.
The Hawks had a three-point lead after the first quarter and then exploded in the second for 41 points to take an 11-point lead. They shot 17-of-20 from the field in the second quarter — 4-of-6 from three-point range — led by 25 combined from Scott, Mack, and Lou Williams.
The Pistons responded in the third quarter, out-scoring the Hawks 34-20. Atlanta’s offense slowed down in the third and once the pace slowed, their mistakes increased — five turnovers for eight Pistons’ points — and the lack of ball-movement and pace led to more contested shots as they went 6-for-24 from the field — 3-of-9 from three. The Pistons followed a big quarter from Brandon Jennings, who woke up offensively for 12 points on 3-of-5 shooting.
The Hawks battled back in the fourth quarter, tying the game at 98 with just under six minutes to play in the game, but — as has been the case during this losing streak — they were unable to complete the comeback.
Kyle Korver had 11 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and three steals and got a quick three-pointer early in the first quarter to extend his three-point streak to 123 consecutive games.
The Hawks will look to finally end their losing streak at home tomorrow night, when the equally struggling Knicks come to town also on the second game of a back-to-back after a rough double overtime loss in Orlando.
Tweet of the Night
The @ATLHawks are a dangerous team, albeit on a 8gm losing streak. If Teague’s healthy, Millsap, Mack, Scott & Williams are underrated core.
— Austin Drake (@austin_drake) February 22, 2014
Photo by Allen Einstein/NBAE/Getty Images