The Atlanta Hawks had victory in their sights Friday against the Detroit Pistons, but couldn’t finish the drill.
The Hawks were outscored 10-2 in the final two minutes of a 125-122 loss at State Farm Arena in their first game after the All-Star break. Holding a 120-115 lead with 1:53 remaining, the Hawks (19-40) would only add another basket down the stretch while Detroit (27-30) rallied behind Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson and a huge tiebreaking three-pointer from 7-foot-1 Thon Maker with 17 seconds left.
Trae Young, who led the Hawks with 30 points, and Vince Carter, who added 16 points in 16 minutes off the bench, missed three-point attempts in the final seconds. Tonight’s performance for Young marks his third 30-point game.
“I thought our guys competed and executed well and defended at a high level tonight when we needed to,” coach Lloyd Pierce said. “We missed out on a ton of big moments...we were just unable to finish the possession.”
The Pistons secured the series win after they split the earlier meetings this season on Nov. 9 and Dec. 23.
It was a back-and-forth contest that was quite chippy throughout the game. Pistons star Blake Griffin was ejected after a pair of technical fouls in the third quarter, and the ejection actually fueled a Hawks’ 10-4 run that placed a major dent in Detroit’s double-digit lead.
“I love when you get in that competitive zone and people are talking back and forth,” Young said. “That’s part of the game. That’s competitive nature.”
The Pistons built an early lead in the first quarter behind a quick start from Drummond, who finished with 26 points and 21 rebounds. The Hawks grabbed their first lead of the game in the final minute of the quarter as Jaylen Adams’ three-pointer gave the team a 32-31 lead.
Jackson had a game-high 32 points to lead five Pistons in double figures. Young’s 30 and 19 from John Collins topped six Hawks in double figures, the 22nd game in which six Hawks hit double figures this season.
“I think we did a good job coming out and competing tonight, we just have to do a better job of finishing, the story of our season,” Collins said. “Coming down the stretch we’ve got to make those plays and finish games.”
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