The Hawks bounced back from their first loss this season with a 118-113 win over the Pistons on Wednesday in Detroit.

Here are five observations:

1. The Hawks have struggled to find a rhythm on the defensive end this season. Those struggles continued on Wednesday as they allowed the Pistons to take control of the game in the second and third quarters.

The Hawks have had trouble in the middle of game but unlike the last outing they recovered far more quickly.

The Hawks allowed the Pistons to score 57 points between the second and third quarters, giving up 20 points in the paint.

It has been a goal of the Hawks to string together a solid 48 minutes of play. So, after the Hornets overpowered them on Sunday evening, it was important for the Hawks to respond the right way.

Despite allowing the Pistons to find a flow, the Hawks held their opponent to 42-of-91 overall shooting.

“I thought we were solid, you know, for the 48 minutes, you know, we didn’t play perfect basketball, but I just felt that we were locked into the game plan,” Hawks coach Nate McMillan said. “Defensively, we did a good job of making them work and contesting everything. We didn’t really give up big quarters tonight, as we did in our last game, and we were pretty consistent with that.”

2. The Hawks may not have hit all of the offensive notes that they would have liked, but they shot 49.2% from the floor. Much of that came off a 35-point night from Trae Young, who got into an offensive flow early in the game.

Young scored 16 points on 4-of-8 overall shooting after seeing the lanes that he wanted. As the Pistons adjusted to Young, the 24-year-old guard kept driving and attacking and taking advantage of the contact to work into a flow from the free-throw line.

“I was able to kind of get into the lane early on in the night,” Young said. “I kind of helped get us going. But I still didn’t make as many shots as I wanted to and I had some really good looks too in the second half. I mean, that’s gonna come. So, I didn’t, to be honest with you, shoot the ball as efficient as I wanted to, and I know I’m just going to make more shots.”

3. In Wednesday’s game, the second unit had a rocky outing in the second quarter, allowing the Pistons to gain control of the momentum. The Pistons closed the first quarter on a 14-6 run.

But the bench found a little bit of life at the right time early in the fourth quarter, helping the Hawks regain the lead and some control of the game.

“It’s still early and we’re still working on a rhythm and a chemistry and rotation,” McMillan said. “I want to find a way to give our starters less minutes. They’re playing pretty heavy minutes in these first few games. So coming up with a rotation so that we can have a balanced rotation is what we’re looking for. But it certainly helps when a second unit comes in and give us some good minutes where we can rest some of those starters.”

The Hawks starters have averaged over 25 minutes per game in the first three games, with Young and Dejounte Murray putting in over 35 minutes per game.

4. John Collins hit the right notes on both sides of the ball, ending the night with 19 points and 11 rebounds. The 25-year-old forward has averaged 19 points and 10.3 rebounds per game through four games. Collins mentioned that McMillan wanted him to attack the rim and the glass to help give the team another stable option on both ends of the floor.

Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins (20) attempts a dunk as Detroit Pistons center Isaiah Stewart (28) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Credit: AP

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Credit: AP

On Wednesday, he blocked four shots, one of which could have shifted the momentum in the Pistons’ favor.

In the fourth quarter, Collins chased down Cade Cunningham following the sophomore guard’s steal. As Cunningham looked to score a layup in transition, Collins swatted the shot against the backboard. Waiting to grab the rebound was Clint Capela, who quickly found Murray.

5. Capela, like Collins, gave the Hawks some strong minutes on the defensive end. Capela blocked four shots by the end of the night and pulled down 10 rebounds.

The 28-year-old has been adjusting to life with Young and Murray co-handling the ball. Capela has been a little quiet on the offensive end, averaging eight points per game, the lowest he has averaged since his sophomore season.

Until he finds his footing offensively, he’ll continue to attack the glass

“Stay focused on the basics, just stop them trying to rebound the ball, just limit them to get open shots send them to the weak end as much as possible and just make it hard for them,” Capela said. “And just by staying with it being consistent with it again in the game, you start feeling like it just opened up for us.”

Stat to know

The Hawks outscored the Pistons by 14 (56-42) in the paint, but the Pistons had a six-point advantage (15-9) in second-chance points.


Yeah, obviously gotta give a lot of kudos to Bogey you know, you just try to make it as tough as you can.” -- John Collins on the Pistons’ Bojan Bogdanovic shooting 6-of-12 from 3.

Up next

The Hawks face the Pistons again on Friday night.

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