With their 128-120 win over the Pistons Monday at State Farm Arena, the Hawks move to 3-0 to start the season, after never being able to string together three wins at any point last year and only winning two games in a row four times.

Next up, the Hawks play at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Brooklyn.

Below are some takeaways from the win:

1. Rajon Rondo officially made his debut, but it looked like he had been around for much longer, given the way he clicked with the rest of the team, tallying a team-high eight assists and 12 points in about 15 minutes. Rondo hit a deep 3-pointer with about three minutes to play in the third quarter to give the Hawks an 89-81 lead, and with less than a minute to go in the third, grabbed a rebound and hurled a pass downcourt to a wide-open Bogdan Bogdanovic, who drained a 3. Rondo made another deep 3 with a second to go and had a loud six points and two assists in the third. “He did unbelievable,” Trae Young said. “That’s something that I wasn’t surprised of. He’s a vet; he’s been in the biggest moments in this league, so I knew him coming and getting adjusted to the game wasn’t going to be hard for him. ... You got to see a little bit of what he’s going to be able to do for us, tonight.”

caption arrowCaption
Hawks Solomon Hill (from left), Rajon Rondon and John Collins triple team Detroit Pistons Isaiah Stewart in the home opener Monday, Dec. 28, 2020, at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Hawks Solomon Hill (from left), Rajon Rondon and John Collins triple team Detroit Pistons Isaiah Stewart in the home opener Monday, Dec. 28, 2020, at State Farm Arena in Atlanta.  (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

caption arrowCaption
Hawks Solomon Hill (from left), Rajon Rondon and John Collins triple team Detroit Pistons Isaiah Stewart in the home opener Monday, Dec. 28, 2020, at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

2. After missing the first two games of the season with left Achilles soreness, Clint Capela returned to the starting lineup and also officially made his debut as a Hawk, though he had played in preseason games. This was his first time playing in an official game since Jan. 29, when he was still with the Rockets. He still doesn’t look full-speed, but had seven points, nine rebounds and two blocks. He came out aggressive in the second half, with two dunks in the first three minutes of the third quarter.

3. The Hawks got off to a hot start, shooting 61.9% from the field (13-for-21) and 50% from 3 (6-for-12) in the first quarter to lead by eight, and led 65-56 at the half. That’s been a pattern through their first three games: They’re averaging 68.7 points, shooting 55% from the field (72-for-131) and 43.8% from 3 (28-for-64) in first halves.

4. Overall, they had an excellent night from 3-point range at 46.6% (20-for-42). Bogdanovic went 5-for-7 from 3, adding 17 points overall, Solomon Hill went 4-for-8, adding 12 points, De’Andre Hunter went 3-for-7 (11 points), Collins made his one attempt (15 points) and Rondo went 2-for-3. Young led the way on offense with 29 points (6-13 field goals, 2-6 from 3, 15-15 free throws).

5. Despite their strong shooting night, the Hawks were clinging to a five-point lead with 35 seconds to play because they couldn’t get enough stops to maintain what was once a 24-point lead. They gave up another 3 to Josh Jackson, but Young and John Collins combined to go 6-for-6 from the line and Cam Reddish got a clutch steal to close out the win. It’s of note the Pistons were missing Blake Griffin, Derrick Rose and Jahlil Okafor, but outscored the Hawks 33-28 in the fourth quarter. Their transition defense was particularly rough, Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce noted: “We watched our transition defense, and it was pretty pathetic at first, and the guys understand when you’re playing a team like this and they’re missing some bodies, the best way they can stay in the game is to create some extra possessions and some easy baskets.”

Stat of the game

30 (the number of assists the Hawks tallied, as they moved the ball well)

Star of the game

Young (led the Hawks in scoring with 29)

Quotable

“When Jerami Grant made that 3, or somebody made that 3 on the right wing, it was like a look of, we had our ‘Oh s*** moment.’ We can’t have those moments in the fourth quarter against a team that is missing a few guys. Our ability to finish games is going to be a big determining factor on how we end the season.” – Solomon Hill on the Pistons’ rally in the fourth quarter.

About the Author

Editors' Picks