The Hawks looked to rebound from a disastrous end to Sunday’s loss to the Spurs. They did. Using strong defense in the third quarter, the Hawks beat the Pistons 129-107 Tuesday night.
Here are five observations:
1. The Hawks aimed for a better defensive outing after giving up a 24-point lead against the Spurs. They found the right connection on defense to start the game, holding the Pistons to 4-of-10 shooting in the first five minutes of the game.
The Pistons did hang around for much of the first half, keeping the game within single digits. But when the Hawks returned from the locker room at halftime, they re-connected on the defensive end to hold the Pistons to just 19 points in the third quarter.
The Hawks did not allow the Pistons to get to their spots and forced them to speed up their pace and play inefficiently. With the Hawks pushing the pace, it allowed them to get into the right spots to pull down a season-high 61 rebounds.
“I really thought at the beginning that it was going to be kind of hard to match (them) to rebound,” Hawks center Clint Capela said. “But I really felt that our pace made a difference.”
2. After scoring just nine points on Sunday, Hawks guard Trae Young bounced back with a 30-point performance. He started off a little slowly but worked himself into a rhythm by getting to the line early in the game.
With the Hawks clicking on the defensive end, it allowed the 24-year-old guard to push the pace. With the team playing quicker, it allowed the front court to open up space, which in turn allowed Young to create open looks on the outside.
Young had 12 assists, eight of which were on 3-pointers.
3. With Bogdan Bogdanovic finding the net in the third quarter, the Hawks managed to finally create some separation from the Pistons. Bogdanovic buried three straight triples, which allowed the Hawks to go on a 16-0 run to get out to an 82-61 lead with 8:30 remaining in the third quarter.
Bogdanovic has provided the Hawks with a lift off the bench but the Hawks bumped him to the starting unit with Dejounte Murray out with a non-COVID illness.
The Hawks’ wing ended the night with 18 points and has continued to play efficiently from deep since his return from the All-Star break. Bogdanovic has made 50% of his shots from long range on 5.3 attempts per game and on Tuesday he went 4-of-9 from 3.
“That’s the type of person Bogi is,” Young said. “He’s one of our biggest competitors on our team. When he doesn’t have a good game or a good shooting night, he’s determined to turn it around and not have it two nights in a row.”
4. The Hawks missed the presence of Murray and they ruled Jalen Johnson out for at least the next week with a mild hamstring strain and a mild groin strain.
Murray’s and Johnson’s absences opened up minutes for AJ Griffin, as well as Aaron Holiday and Garrison Mathews.
Both Mathews and Holiday have typically subbed in toward the end of games.
Mathews played some strong defense throughout the night, which allowed the Hawks’ bench to gain some traction and build a 43-34 lead early in the second quarter. He gave the Hawks his all on defense in his second stint in the second half, helping them maintain the 20-plus point lead.
5. With his former team in town, forward Saddiq Bey looked to keep his focus on doing what he needed to do for the Hawks. The 23-year-old knocked down a pair of back-to-back 3-pointers in the second quarter to help the Hawks get out to a nine-point lead early.
It’s the first time in three games that Bey has scored multiple 3s.
He ended the night with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Hawks 129, Pistons 107
Stat to know
62 -- Trae Young put up his 62nd career game with 30 or more points and 10-plus assists. It’s the seventh-most such games in NBA history. It’s his 11th of the season, which is the most by any player in the East and tied for second-most in the NBA.
“Yeah, because I know that every time I go challenge the shot, guards are ready, especially for me. So, I knew that he was going to try something tricky. So I did too, by switching hands as well, just like he did.” -- Clint Capela on switching hands as Pistons guard Rodney McGruder switched hands to try a layup.
The Hawks play at the Timberwolves on Wednesday in the second night of a back-to-back.
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