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Dejounte Murray, Hawks down Pistons in tight In-Season Tournament clash, 126-120

Atlanta Hawks v Detroit Pistons Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Atlanta tipped off their In-Season Tournament campaign with a road tilt at Little Caesars Arena, the home of the Detroit Pistons. Trae Young missed this game after he and his wife celebrated the arrival of their second child yesterday. In his place, Bogdan Bogdanovic slid into the starting lineup alongside Dejounte Murray in the backcourt.

The Hawks have been known for starting slow this season, but they raced out to a 21-11 lead behind a 9-for-11 shooting streak to begin this contest. Everybody ate too, as the Hawks were able to get whatever they wanted against the Pistons defense.

AJ Griffin got into the rotation tonight sans Young, and he also got into the scoring fun.

Unfortunately, Griffin later hobbled to the locker room with an apparent lower body injury but would come back later in the contest.

After one quarter, the Hawks led 38-29 in a breath of fresh air for the recent early game struggles.

The second quarter was a slog, however, with Trent Forrest tasked with leading the second unit at point guard. Slowly but surely, the Pistons clawed their way back into the contest, and they were able to take the lead halfway through the second quarter. The second chance points and points in the paint piled up in a hurry for Detroit, and Atlanta failed to execute on offense at the same time, leading to a double-digit lead being quickly erased.

Still, Atlanta bounced back and used a late surge to head into halftime up 64-60. Dejounte Murray led all scorers with 17 points and all Hawks with six assists at the break. Bogdan Bogdanovic had a strong first half as well, registering 15 points on 6-for-9 (67%) shooting.

In the third quarter, this Pistons came out of the gates with more energy and took a 73-70 lead and forced head coach Quin Snyder to call timeout. From there, the Hawks picked up the pace and pressed into the lead despite hot shooting from Detroit.

Dejounte Murray continued to power a Hawks offense down their best player with his midrange mastery.

Atlanta held onto a tenuous lead for the majority of that period, eventually taking a 97-91 edge into the fourth quarter. From there, it remained a tight affair with little to separate the teams.

The Pistons continued to attack the rim, but on this play Clint Capela was wise to their tricks.

With the lead passing back and forth late, Murray hit De’Andre Hunter on pass for a baseline jumper with under two minutes left to go up by one point.

Murray also hit a big bucket and some clutch free throws down the stretch to help the Hawks finally put away the contest. He finished with 32 points, 10 assists, six rebounds, and three steals in 37 minutes of play.

With the win, the Hawks moved to 6-4 on the season and 1-0 within East Group A in the In-Season Tournament.