This matchup featured two teams heading in the opposite direction, with the Atlanta Hawks winning nine of their last ten and the Detroit Pistons dropping to five games under .500. However, you wouldn’t have known it by the action on the court, as the Pistons took care of business with relative ease in the Palace at Auburn Hills.
The Pistons used a sensational first quarter to springboard their efforts, and they led 42-18 after that frame. The Hawks were unable to bounce back but instead elected to give some of the younger players minutes down the stretch. Atlanta drops to 24-18 on the season, while the Pistons will try to build on this win at 20-24.
Detroit's Balanced Effort
The Pistons shot the ball exceptionally well, finishing at 49.5 percent and 40 percent from beyond the arc. They also had six players in double figures, which made it nearly impossible for the Hawks to keep up offensively. Point guard Reggie Jackson led the way with 26 points, while the rest of the starting lineup scored between 13 and 19 points apiece.
Big man Andre Drummond also controlled the boards as he is often known to do, pulling down 17 in this one. Marcus Morris flirted with a triple-double, scoring 14 and adding 10 rebounds and seven assists as well. Tobias Harris, who has played notably well against Atlanta in his career, had 19 points.
A Night to Forget for Atlanta
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Hawks shot an abysmal percentage from the field and looked tired and almost disinterested from the opening tip. Paul Millsap had the best game of the bunch with 21 points, eight rebounds, and four assists, but there was very little production from the rest of the roster.
Dwight Howard took just one shot and grabbed only three rebounds in 21 minutes, definitely one of his worst outings as a Hawk. Drummond dominated the matchup and seemed to be the physically more imposing center of the two.
On the bright side, coach Mike Budenholzer was able to deploy rookies Taurean Prince and DeAndre Bembry late in the game and see what they could contribute. Prince actually finished in double figures with 10 points in 19 minutes.
The Hawks also made a couple of roster moves late Tuesday night, bringing in veteran guard Gary Neal on a ten-day contract and trading Mo Williams to the Denver Nuggets along with cash considerations. Neal played under coach Budenholzer with the San Antonio Spurs and should serve as an emergency third point guard if needed. Williams was acquired in the Kyle Korver trade and was never going to be a factor in Atlanta’s plan in the first place.
The Hawks host the Chicago Bulls on Friday night as they try to bounce back against another Eastern Conference foe on the brink of the playoff picture.
The Pistons, meanwhile, play host to John Wall and the Washington Wizards on Saturday.