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Hawks struggle, face more injury concerns in 100-86 loss to Pistons

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Detroit Pistons Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks enjoyed an electric weekend of victories, toppling the Miami Heat and Milwaukee Bucks in impressive fashion. As is the case with the grueling 2020-21 NBA season, however, there was no time to rest on that success, as the Hawks traveled to Detroit to face the Pistons on the second night of a back-to-back. Atlanta was flat for the majority of the evening, and the Hawks suffered a 100-86 defeat as a result.

Atlanta started slowly, making only two of their first nine shots and scoring only four points in three-plus minutes. Detroit wasn’t flying high out of the gate either, but they found their footing to the tune of a 10-2 early run to take a seven-point edge.

The Hawks trailed for the rest of the quarter, with the Pistons leading 27-23 at the end of 12 minutes. Though Atlanta didn’t play well, Bogdan Bogdanovic enjoyed a strong start, scoring 11 points in the opening period.

The second quarter was also a slog, but there was one bright spot for the Hawks in the form of Kris Dunn. The free agent acquisition has been recovering from surgery for the entire season, but Dunn made his 2020-21 debut late in the first quarter and made an impact defensively.

Atlanta struggled offensively for the lion’s share of the first half, and the scoreboard reflected that uneven play. The Hawks fell behind by nine points mid-way through the second quarter, prompting a timeout from Nate McMillan, and Atlanta was scoring fewer than 0.9 points per possession (with eight turnovers) at that juncture.

While things did improve on the offensive end from that point until halftime, the Hawks also struggled on the other end. Detroit put together a 7-0 run to take a double-digit lead, and the Pistons led by as many as 14 points before halftime before settling in with an 11-point edge at home.

After halftime, there was little in the positive column to discuss, but there was one strong run. Kevin Huerter engineered a quick run with back-to-back dunks to slash the deficit to six in the third quarter.

From there, though, the story of the evening shifted away from a disappointing loss and to the injury report. Huerter went down with an injury midway through the fourth quarter and, just moments later, Brandon Goodwin exited with what seemed to be a left foot/ankle injury that required a wheelchair to take him to the locker room.

The remainder of the evening belonged to the Pistons on the court, with Detroit continuing to build their lead. Ultimately, the Hawks fell by a 14-point margin on a night that didn’t go very well in any way, shape or form.

In fact, Atlanta’s 86-point total was its lowest offensive output of the season, and the Hawks connected on just 4-of-27 from three-point range. That also represented the team’s fewest three-pointers and its worst three-point percentage (14.8 percent) of the season.

The Hawks will now travel to Philadelphia for a pair of matchups against the 76ers on Wednesday and Friday. In the meantime, Atlanta’s attention will shift to any injury updates for Huerter and Goodwin, as well as the ongoing monitoring of Trae Young, De’Andre Hunter and others.

Stay tuned.