The Atlanta Hawks’ attempt at building another winning streak came crashing to a halt on Wednesday night as the team lost, 118-95, to the Detroit Pistons. The Hawks fell to 24-18, while the Pistons improved to 20-24.
The key to this game was the first quarter, in which the Pistons outscored the Hawks 42-18. Nothing functioned right for Atlanta, as the team struggled to score while Detroit hit shot after shot. The Hawks looked visibly tired and out of sync during this period, prompting extended frustration from Mike Budenholzer on the bench.
The Hawks played much better after the first quarter, but were never able to come even close to pulling out of their massive deficit. The score was 69-45 at halftime, and 94-68 at the end of the third quarter, before the final tally of 118-95. Predictably, Budenholzer emptied the bench late in the game, choosing to give the starters as much rest as possible. Taurean Prince and DeAndre Bembry saw extended minutes together.
While Atlanta made several bad mistakes in this game — including a complete defensive breakdown at times — there’s no questioning the fact that much of this poor performance was fatigue-related. Playing their third game in four days, the Hawks looked flat and apathetic for much of the night. This was particularly evident in shooting, as the team shot under 25% on 3-pointers.
Atlanta’s grueling schedule continues on Friday night against the Chicago Bulls, and the week’s slate will conclude on Saturday against the Philadelphia 76ers. While there aren’t many positives to take away from this game, fans can at least take solace in the fact that this week has been brutal from a scheduling perspective for the Hawks. With two potentially winnable games coming up, Atlanta can look ahead to the end of the week.