The Atlanta Hawks ventured to Detroit on Friday night to the new Little Caesars Arena in a face off against the new look Pistons. On a night where the Hawks were short-handed, they ended up playing the Pistons a lot closer than anyone would have predicted.
Atlanta’s inactives for Friday’s game were DeAndre Bembry, who is rehabbing a broken wrist, and Miles Plumlee could return any day after dealing with a hamstring strain the last month. Ersan Ilyasova will continue to miss time with a bone bruise on his knee hindering him. Also on the injury report was Dennis Schroder, Marco Belinelli and Malcolm Delaney who all played tonight.
In the first quarter, the Pistons got off to a hot start from three-point land. Noted Hawks killer Tobias Harris was especially hot early and really got the Pistons rolling early. For the Hawks it was Luke Babbitt early on that kept the Hawks competitive who continues to get starts for the injured Mike Muscala. The Hawks played pretty well on the defensive end and were able to get out of the first with just a four-point deficit, 26-22.
In the second quarter, Atlanta’s defense was very shaky to say the least and their offense was non-existent. Dewayne Dedmon did some really good work for the Hawks in the second quarter knocking down a 3 pointer and several other jump shots. The Hawks gave up some easy looks Avery Bradley and Reggie Bullock and they made the Hawks pay as the Pistons took a halftime lead into the locker room, 57-41.
The Hawks must have gotten a stirring message at halftime because they came out on fire with a 20-7 run to start the third. John Collins and Marco Belinelli really got the offense moving and the defense stepped up as well. The Hawks went into the fourth quarter with a chance to win late, 76-69.
The Hawks and Pistons went back and forth for the first half of the fourth quarter with Dennis Schroder and Taurean Prince getting involved on the offensive end. As usual the Hawks turned to Dennis down the stretch but it was Kent Bazemore with a key three pointer down the stretch. Detroit began to turn the ball over late and Kent Bazemore just kept hitting big shots.
The Hawks were able to get the game tied on a Bazemore three and then went back and forth through the poor defensive effort Detroit was giving. The sheer size of Andre Drummond got the Pistons a couple of easy points, but the Hawks fought back with great drives down the stretch from Marco Belinelli and some lob finishes from John Collins. The last 60 seconds really are what cost the Hawks the game with Reggie Jackson hitting two huge three pointers to seal the deal for Detroit.
The Hawks put up an incredible fight in tonight’s game to be down by as many as 19 points and eventually get the game tied with just a minute remaining in the game. Dennis Schroder had a great night with 17 points and 11 assists alongside Kent Bazemore’s 22-point, 5-assist, 5-rebound stat line.