Offense Stalls As Hawks Fall To Pistons

Tuesday, April 8, 2014
By Robby Kalland

Detroit Pistons v Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks (34-43) got off to a slow start and never fully recovered in a 102-95 loss to the Pistons (29-49). Rodney Stuckey led the way for the Pistons and led all scorers with 29 points along with four rebounds and four assists.The Pistons size inside gave the Hawks a problem as they held a 53-48 rebounding advantage for the game and had  a 15-7 advantage in the first quarter when they jumped out to a 35-27 lead.

Hawks vs. Pistons
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In that first quarter, the Pistons had six offensive rebounds leading to 15 second chance points — they finished with 26 second chance points . Greg Monroe led the way early with 10 points and five rebounds on his way to 21 points and 13 rebounds on the game. Andre Drummond was also dominant on the glass, grabbing 17 boards along with 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting.

Paul Millsap led the way for Atlanta with 24 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists on 10-of-19 shooting, doing plenty of damage against the bigger frontcourt of Detroit. Millsap, still dealing with a right thumb injury, was still able to be effective around the rim using both hands to score.

Jeff Teague got out to a good start with eight points in the first quarter, but was bottled up the rest of the game, scoring just 15 for the game on 5-of-9 shooting. Teague did facilitate the ball well with nine assists, but the Hawks offense didn’t have it’s normal pace to it and they could never get going for an extended period.

As a team, the Hawks offense shot 38.2% from the field and just 25.7% (9-of-35) from three-point range. Kyle Korver accounted for nearly half of the Hawks made threes as he went 4-of-12 from the three-point line, finishing with 12 points, five rebounds, and five assists.

Atlanta made a strong comeback and took a four point lead late in the third behind a 14-0 run led by a pair of Korver threes, but the comeback effort combined with the effort needed to contain Detroit on the boards proved to be too much for the Hawks.

“I referenced that I felt there was a lack of focus to start the game,” said Coach Budenholzer. “Coming off a win or coming off a loss it doesn’t really matter, you have to have more focus and be tougher to start the game and throughout the game…We didn’t change anything [to beat them on the boards in the second half]. I think the group has a strong will and they’re resilient. We did come back to take the lead at one point, but I think we spent a lot of energy trying to take care of the boards and in the end we weren’t able to sustain that lead.”

In the fourth quarter, the Hawks offense could only muster up 17 points as the Pistons iced the game with free throws down the stretch. The Hawks, coming off back-to-back dominating wins, looked sluggish much of the night on both ends of the floor. The commitment to the boards on the defensive end that it took to keep Drummond and Monroe from easy put-back opportunities seemed to slow the Hawks’ pace, but Coach Bud still wants to see them push the ball up the floor even when crashing the boards hard.

“I think there’s probably some element of [the pace slowing to commit to the boards], but all year we want to rebound and have our guards rebound,” said Coach Bud. “Against some of these teams it’s more of a priority and a heightened awareness, but we still think we can run and play with pace [and rebound the ball effectively].”

The Hawks will have to regain their focus quickly, as they face the Celtics tomorrow night back at Philips Arena. The Hawks lead over the Knicks for the eighth seed sits at 1.5 games after the loss, and their magic number remains three with five games to play.

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Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images

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