Hawks-Pistons: Five Observations

A look inside the Hawks’ 112-95 win over the Pistons Saturday.

Five observations

1. Schroder, Drummond have words

The 6-foot-1 Dennis Schroder and the 6-11 Andre Drummond exchanged words in the third quarter. Drummond delivered an elbow to Schroder and the guard responded with a shoulder to Drummond’s back. The two had to be separated. Schroder was called for an offensive foul. After the officials reviewed the play, Drummond was given a technical foul.

“He didn’t play fair,” Schroder said. “I was mad, heat of the moment. I set a screen really hard on him because he gave me an elbow first. I’ve got to control myself. I can’t do that. Still, heat of the moment and sometimes you do stuff you regret afterward.”

The two hugged following the game that featured several other chippy moments.

2. Fast start

The Hawks started fast. The Pistons, well, they did not. The Hawks led 11-2 before the Pistons scored their first basket – a jumper by Reggie Jackson with 7:15 remaining in the first quarter. The Pistons missed their first seven shots, including Tobias Harris’ 3-point air ball on the first possession. Ironically, the Pistons’ only points to that point were two free throws from Drummond. The Hawks led by as many as 13 points in the opening quarter and were up 27-15 at its end. They Hawks shot 46 percent with just two turnovers. The Pistons shot 26 percent with five turnovers. The Hawks would never trail and led by as many as 20 points in the victory.

“I think the defense in the first quarter set the tone, the activity and obviously we shot the ball well tonight,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “We talked before the game that last night we found a way to win without making shots. Tonight, we made a lot of 3’s. We were able to get some separation. I thought the pace into the offense and the ball movement was good.”

3. Back to the 3-pointer

The Hawks were a miserable 5 of 32 (.156) from 3-point range in Friday’s win over the Bucks. The performance came one game after they set season-highs in makes (17) and attempts (42) in a win over the Wizards.

The Hawks hit their fifth 3-pointer early in the second quarter on a shot by Al Horford. They bested their total from the Bucks game when Mike Scott connected from long range for the Hawks next basket. The Hawks were 8 of 19 from 3-point range in the first half. Kent Bazemore, who was 0 of 8 from 3-point range in his previous four games, hit two straight from long range in the first quarter. The Hawks finished 13 of 34 from 3-point range.

4. Hack-a-Drummond Part IV

You knew it was going to happen – even with the Hawks up 12 points in the first half. The Hawks employed the Hack-a-Drummond on the Pistons center as they have in each game this season. They used it just once as Kris Humphries intentionally fouled Drummond with 4:03 remaining in the second quarter and the Hawks leading 46-34. Drummond missed one of the two free-throw attempts.

Drummond, who entered the game shooting .358 from the free-throw line, has shot 21 of 45 in the first three games this season. Drummond finished 5 of 9 from the line but only one trip was intentional.

5. Sefolosha rests

Thabo Sefolosha did not play in the second game of a back-to-back. The Hawks said Sefolosha was available but Budenholzer gave no indication before the game he would rest. Sefolosha had 10 points and seven rebounds in 24 minutes in Friday’s win over the Bucks.

“I think Thabo (Sefolosha) is going to be OK,” Budenholzer said after the game. “He just had a tiny bit of stiffness. It’s our last back-to-back of the season. I think we just wanted to air on the side of caution and do everything we can to keep him in a good place because he’s playing so well. He probably could have played. He and I together agreed that it was best not to play.”

Sefolosha said he was fine after the game and joked he got a DNP-OLD.

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