Behind a monster performance from Trae Young and some defensive adjustments at halftime, the Hawks started off the season by beating the Pistons 117-100 in Detroit on Thursday night.
Up next, the Hawks will play the Magic at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at State Farm Arena.
Five takeaways from the victory:
1. In terms of heroics on offense, Young is picking up right where he left off last season, and then some. Young poured in 26 points in the first half despite consistent pressure from the Pistons, finishing the game with 38 points, 9 assists and 7 rebounds, including a 3-pointer from the logo in the first quarter. He was efficient, going 11-for-21 from the floor (6-for-10 from 3-point range), and also made 10 of 12 free-throw attempts. He did, however, register six turnovers (the Hawks had 13). Young on finding a rhythm early: “Once a couple go in, I feel like I have a rhythm. I try to work on my game and get the best shot possible each time down. And if I continue to do that, I’ll be able to shoot efficiently and shoot better.”
2. The Pistons kept pace with the Hawks in the first half, going on a 12-0 run to lead 63-60 at halftime. But the Hawks made it harder after tightening up their defense, limiting the Pistons to 2-of-18 from 3-point range and 25.6 percent shooting in the second half. Coach Lloyd Pierce on the changes the Hawks made: “I thought we did a good job of communicating our switches. We kept the game in front.” The Hawks did catch a break, however, facing the Pistons without Blake Griffin. He will miss the first few games of the season, according to the Detroit Free Press, rehabbing through knee and hamstring issues. Derrick Rose led the Pistons with 27 points, and Andre Drummond added 21 points and 12 rebounds.
3. Understandably, Kevin Huerter looked a little shaky in his first game back from injury (he had been experiencing discomfort in his right knee and missed all five exhibition games). Huerter, playing on a 15-minute restriction, picked up five fouls in 14 minutes, registering three turnovers. He went scoreless, attempting three shots, but even though his shooting wasn’t there, Huerter contributed five assists and four rebounds, showing he can affect the game in more ways than one.
4. No surprises here, but when Vince Carter checked into Thursday’s game, he officially became the first player in NBA history to play in 22 seasons. After he plays in a game in 2020, Carter will become the first to play a game in four decades (Carter’s NBA career began in the 1998-99 season).
5. Jabari Parker provided exactly the spark off the bench the Hawks needed, helping to swing the game in the third quarter. Parker led the team with 9 points in the third, finishing with 18 points total. He said he wants to “bring that energy from the bench.”
By the numbers
37 (the amount of points the Hawks gave up in the second half, after allowing 63 in the first half).
“De’Andre Hunter is not a rookie. He's a very composed individual. I think we've known that, and I thought he made timely and appropriate plays.” — Pierce on Hunter’s performance in his regular season debut (14 points, 2 rebounds)
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