1. Up against the No. 14 team in the East, this had the makings of a trap game for the Hawks, who were coming off two good wins on a back-to-back against the Bulls and Wizards last Thursday and Friday. Entering Monday’s contest, Atlanta was in a three-way tie with the Hornets and Nets, trailing the No. 7 Raptors. The Hawks, looking to climb in the standings and with a slim margin for error down the season’s final stretch, instead lost the kind of game they can’t afford to lose, falling to the No. 10 spot. Instead of seizing the opportunity to get back to .500 for the first time since Dec. 15, they fell to 31-33 with 18 games left in the regular season.
2. The Hawks nearly had this game won in regulation twice. Bogdan Bogdanovic was called for a foul with 1.6 seconds to play, sending Cade Cunningham (game-high 28 points, six rebounds, 10 assists) to the line. Cunningham made both shots to put the Pistons (18-47) up by one, 101-100, with 1.6 seconds to play. Then, Marvin Bagley III (19 points, 10 rebounds, two steals, plus-11) was called for a foul on the inbounds pass, sending John Collins to the line. Collins made 1 of 2 free throws, sending the game to overtime tied at 101.
“I’ve been in the league for a while already, and I’ve played the game for a while, and in the end, you don’t call these calls,” Bogdanovic said. “Even if I grab (Cunningham) from the back or whatever, you can see the player’s reaction, it wasn’t like I fouled him. He was like, ‘I didn’t touch the ball.’ But it doesn’t matter at all. We lost the game. It’s not going to, whatever I say right now is not going to fix it. But I don’t know what to say. I feel bad that I did it. I didn’t have any intention to foul the guy there.”
3. In overtime, the Hawks got a vital 3-pointer from De’Andre Hunter to pull within three points with 42.5 seconds left. Cunningham missed a shot, and the Hawks got the ball back with enough time to make something of it, but Trae Young and Hunter missed 3-point attempts. The Hawks shot 30% from the field (3-for-10) in overtime, struggling to find a rhythm late.
4. This isn’t the first time the Hawks have lost a letdown game to an opponent that, on paper, they should definitely beat (giving up 136 points to a then-20-win Spurs team comes to mind). After the loss, Young spoke about how the Hawks need to have the right mindset.
“We’ve had a lot of those,” Young said. “We’ve had a couple games, it feels like we’ve showed up more against the higher-seeded teams in the league and just feels like we’ve got to have that same mindset every game. I just don’t think we had it coming into today. We had it early on, and we had it going but just didn’t, wasn’t able to sustain it, and they were keeping it close. I think a lot of teams in this league want to keep it close to the end of the games and then see what happens. I think they did a great job of just keeping it close, and they made a couple more plays than we did at the end.”
5. After tweaking his left shoulder in Friday’s win in Washington, wing Kevin Huerter missed this game with left shoulder soreness (he worked it out for the first time Monday morning at shootaround). This is the same shoulder Huerter has injured twice before. Bogdanovic, who has been on a tear coming off the bench, averaging 17.5 points (shooting 40.3% from 3-point range) the past 17 games, started in Huerter’s stead. Bogdanovic finished with a team-high 22 points, though he was 2-for-11 from 3-point range, adding six assists, five rebounds and two blocks. This also marked Onyeka Okongwu’s (two points, four rebounds in 19-plus minutes) first game back since entering the NBA’s concussion protocol during the Hawks’ loss March 1 in Boston, and Collins’ (17 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, plus-four) second game back since missing seven games with a right foot strain from Feb. 13 to March 3.
Stat of the game: 30% (what the Hawks shot from the field in overtime)
Star of the game: Cunningham (finished with a game-high 28 points, with seven of those coming in overtime)
Quotable: “You go back to regulation, we had opportunities to finish there, as well as overtime. Finishing is getting stops, executing offensively and making shots.” (Hawks coach Nate McMillan on Atlanta failing to polish off a win)