AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - There was plenty to like and plenty not to like in the Hawks’ 106-103 victory over the Pistons Friday night. It’s hard to find a lot at fault with a win – the Hawks’ seventh straight and 21st in the past 23 games.
Here are five observations from the game:
1. You have to like the way the Hawks came out fast in this game after sluggish starts in their last couple of wins. They jumped on the Pistons early and led by as many as 13 points in the first quarter and 23 points in the second quarter. The Hawks were particularly good in the second quarter, shooting 47.6 percent, including 6 of 11 from 3-point range.
2. The Hawks did not keep up their defense in the second half. The Pistons outscored the Hawks 58-42 over the final two quarters. After a miserable start from 3-point range, the Pistons made 10 in the second half to get back in the game. At one point in the third quarter, four of five field goals were 3-pointers.
3. The Hawks’ late-game blunders helped fuel the Pistons’ rally, that fell short only when Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s 3-pointer as time expired fell short. Kyle Korver fouled Caldwell-Pope on a made 3-pointer (he missed the free throw). The Hawks left Greg Monroe open for a dunk with two seconds left to pull within three points. Paul Millsap and Al Horford could not inbound the ball, resulting in a turnover that set up the Pistons’ potential game-tying shot. There is still plenty to work on there. Korver said he was not looking forward to the post-game film session, one that he figured to keep him up late.
4. Errors aside, the Hawks won another on the road. It was their franchise-record eighth straight win away from Philips Arena. It’s not easy to win on the road and the Pistons had the momentum of a seven-game win streak of their own. A mostly quiet crowd got louder as the Pistons cut into their deficit. “Obviously we stop it,” Millsap said of the Pistons’ late surge. “We won the game. At some point you have to stop the bleeding. I think we settled down a little bit but then down the stretch we had a few costly mistakes that kept them in it.”
5. This is a different Pistons team than the one that started the season 5-23. The seven wins, following the release of Josh Smith, has been highlighted with better ball movement. However, the Pistons still take some bad shots. Brandon Jennings and Caldwell-Pope took some unnecessarily rushed shots late in the game. The Pistons set a franchise record for 3-point attempts in a game as they went 13 of 43 from long range. Caldwell-Pope was 4 of 16.