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Hawks down Pistons 128-120, improve to 3-0

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NBA: Detroit Pistons at Atlanta Hawks Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday night, the Atlanta Hawks played their first game at home in State Farm Arena since Mar. 11 — the day that the sports world paused. The Atlanta Hawks moved to 3-0, beating the Detroit Pistons 128-120.

Clint Capela finally made his debut as a Hawk after being acquired from Houston in February as part of a four-team deal. Due to a couple of different injuries, Capela had not played a regular season basketball game since Jan. 29.

Capela got in on the action early for the Hawks, showing that he is more that just a rim runner and paint defender.

His first career points with the Hawks came in the form of this dunk.

Atlanta got off to another hot start, which is a great developing trend for them so far this season. The Hawks have shown signs of offensive explosions in each first quarter of their first three games.

The Hawks went on a 16-2 run in the middle of the first quarter. Atlanta’s ball movement was impressive in the early going.

Another player that made their debut as a Hawk in this game is Rajon Rondo. Rondo is coming off of a championship run with the Lakers, and he will be a rotational guard for the Hawks behind Trae Young.

Rondo showed off his playmaking ability very quickly.

The scoring slowed down for the Hawks and picked up for the Pistons in the second quarter. Detroit went on an 11-4 run to make it a two-point game early in the second quarter.

Bogdan Bogdanovic, who was the first player off the bench for the Hawks, helped get Atlanta off of an offensive rut by way of a beautifully designed play out of a timeout.

Atlanta ended the second quarter better than they started it. Young was heavily involved in the back end of the second quarter, getting to the free-throw line five times in the second quarter and hitting all of his attempts. Young was 6-of-6 from the charity stripe in the first half.

The Hawks closed out the second quarter on a 16-9 run to make the halftime score 66-56 in the Hawks’ favor. The two teams traded buckets for a lot of the period, and the Pistons were more successful at scoring inside and drawing could when Capela was off the floor.

The Hawks were extremely efficient in scoring in the first half. They shot 55% from the field and 50% from deep.

The second half opened with a lot of back-and-forth scoring between the two teams. The Pistons were just hitting shots. The bright spot for Atlanta was that Capela became more involved offensively in the third quarter.

Capela was aggressive inside by drawing fouls, and he displayed his connection with Young.

The Hawks were unable to pull away in the third quarter. Whenever one team went on a run, the other answered with a run of their own.

Atlanta continued shooting well from beyond the arc in the third period. Bogdanovic hit two straight threes in an exciting sequence.

Atlanta ended the third quarter with a 3-pointer from both Bogdanovic and Rondo to take a 100-87 lead heading into the fourth. Rondo’s three was a buzzer-beater.

The Hawks picked up right where they left off in the fourth quarter. Solomon Hill made a three on the Hawks’ first possession of the period.

Atlanta outscored the Pistons 15-4 in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter, however, Detroit responded with back-to-back threes. Again, this was just one of those games where the Hawks would get hot, then the Pistons would go on another run. This inconsistency led to the Hawks’ inability to blow the Pistons out.

Atlanta held onto their lead despite Detroit’s late effort to cut the score down. Detroit trailed by only five points with 35 seconds remaining.

Atlanta had seven players score in double-figures. Capela was the only player in the starting lineup who failed to reach double-digits. He finished with seven points, nine rebounds and two blocks in his Atlanta debut.

Rondo scored 12 points and notched eight assists off the bench in his first game as a Hawk. Bogdanovic drained 5-of-8 threes off the bench en route to a 17-point performance.

Young led the way, per usual, with 29 points and six assists. He was again prolific from the free-throw line, knocking down all 15 of his attempts, including four clutch attempts at the end of the game. That puts him at 42-for-46 on free-throw attempts in three games.

The Hawks travel to Brooklyn to face the Nets in back-to-back matchups on Dec. 30 and Jan. 1. They will face Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant in what should be an exciting offensive battle.