The Hawks headed on the road for the first time in the 2022-23 season and met up with a young and struggling Detroit Pistons squad for the first of a two-game, back-to-back set in the Motor City. The Pistons came into this contest at 1-3 and sporting the worst net efficiency in the NBA. Additionally, they were without number five overall pick Jaden Ivey, Marvin Bagley III and Alec Burks.
De’Andre Hunter started the action with two tough runners in the lane, including this first bucket borne out of brute strength.
The Hawks couldn’t be slowed down in the early period, putting points on the board every trip down the court until the first timeout then beyond. They raced out to a 8-for-11 start from the field for 19 points, and all three misses were pulled down for offensive rebounds.
The Pistons refused to lay down, however, and they eventually mirrored the aggressiveness the Hawks began the game with. With Cade Cunningham as a downhill spark plug, Detroit trimmed a one-time 22-11 deficit to 36-34 by the end of the period.
At times, the scoring was so frantic, even the cameras couldn’t keep up, like on this transition lob to Onyeka Okongwu.
Trae Young in particular had a productive first quarter, using his craftiness to score from the field and at the line. He logged 16 points in the first quarter alone, with half of that coming from the charity stripe.
Trae had 16 in the first quarter. pic.twitter.com/LKYjRXFDbR— Bally Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnBally) October 26, 2022
In the second quarter, the Pistons used their bench to attack Atlanta and remain in control of the proceedings. Atlanta eventually took a 62-57 lead after a Young converted ‘and-1’ play with 10 seconds remaining in the half.
But Detroit would tally four points in the last four seconds of the half after a wacky sequence. After a Bojan Bogdanovic pair of free throws, Collins turned the ball over under Detroit’s basket. That led to the following clip, a Cunningham step back to beat the buzzer.
At the halfway break, the Hawks and Pistons remained locked in a battle. The charge for both teams was led by each team’s highly drafted young guard, Trae Young and Cade Cunningham respectively. Young’s 23 points and Cunningham’s 22 points loomed large in the first half, and neither side could slow the other down.
The Hawks would not come out of the halftime break with the needed intensity and Detroit continued to gain confidence throughout the quarter.
Still, the Hawks used late transition buckets in the third quarter to regain some footing. This lob to a Clint Capela dunk was a much needed exclamation point.
After three quarters of play, Trae Young had already totaled 31 points and six assists, but the Hawks still found themselves tied at 89. Cunningham had 26 at this point, and Bojan Bogdanovic, freshly traded from the Utah Jazz in the offseason, had also poured in 20. The Hawks in particular had difficulty on the glass, with the Pistons pulling down a massive nine offensive rebounds and the Hawks pulling down exactly none on the offensive glass in the second and third quarters combined.
The Hawks used the fourth quarter to gain a lead, although never a safe one. Atlanta would flip an eight point deficit halfway through the third quarter into an eight point advantage at the same point in the fourth quarter.
The late game provided some dramatics as well. After a turnover from John Collins, Collins didn’t give up on the play and responded in a big way.
Bojan Bogdanovic continued to be a thorn in the Hawks’ side late in the fourth quarter, with a 4-point play to give him 30 points and bring the lead down to 111-110. He finished the night with six big three pointers.
Down the stretch, the Hawks survive a late push from the hot shooting Pistons and calmly made their free throws to put the game out of reach. Detroit caught fire from deep, going 14-for-32 (44%), but the Hawks countered with 56 big points in the paint.
Trae Young finished with 35 points and six assists and John Collins added 19 points and 11 rebounds. In addition to Young’s offensive explosion, five other Hawks reached double figures in a balanced attack, and they needed everyone’s contribution to rebuff Detroit’s fierce upset bid.
The Hawks come back in two nights to face the same opponent on the road again and will have a chance to take the set 2-0 on Friday night.