Detroit came south to Atlanta to play the Hawks and is now headed back north to Indiana, their next game, with a 105-91 victory and an end to their seven-game losing streak. The Hawks (6-22 overall) will be in Memphis tomorrow night. The loss a tough one for Atlanta considering how well they played early in the game. “We really probably didn’t play well enough the last three or four minutes of the first quarter and it just, from that point on we were kind of playing from behind,” said Hawks Mike Budenholzer after the game. “A little bit frustrating in that we started out well and it didn’t stay that way for long enough.”
Atlanta’s own Young Jeezy performed at halftime of tonight’s game and for the most part that was the highlight of the first half, especially after the opening quarter, for the home team as Detroit went from being behind by a point, 31-30, at the end of the first quarter to being ahead by 13 points at the half, 59-46. Detroit was 9-14 from three-point range during the first half. Langston Galloway was a major reason for the hot shooting, making three of his first four attempts. The former St. Joseph’s star guard led the way off the bench with 17 points.
The Hawks got off to a hot start, or more specifically forward Ersan Ilyasova continued his strong string of play of late, scoring nine of the Hawks first 15 points and 12 points at the end of the first quarter. Detroit countered Ilyasova’s strong start with nine points each from starters Reggie Jackson and Tobias Harris. Pistons center Andre Drummond came into the game averaging a double-double and he got to work on that early, grabbing 13 rebounds to go with six assists, two steals and two blocked shots during the first half. Drummond would miss the triple-double by an assist, but had a still quite phenomenal line of 12 points, 19 rebounds (seven offensive, one more than the entire Hawks team) and the nine assists.
The highlight of the second half for the home side might have been the fan that hit a half court shot for $10K at the 4:27 mark of the third quarter during a Hawks timeout. The Hawks were behind 76-58, their largest deficit of the game, and the amount of cheers coming from the crowd after Tim- who prior to taking the shot said he would “Enjoy Christmas” with the money- hit the shot was as loud of not louder than that of any Atlanta save a dunk by rookie forward John Collins late in the second quarter. Collins had been out of action for several games but looked good in his return with 15 points and seven rebounds. Budenholzer was happy to have him back, “It was great to see John back on the court, he brings an athleticism, he brings a pop,” said Budenholzer. “It was great to have him back.”
The rest of the game was relatively highlight free for Atlanta as the Pistons (15-13 overall) dominated on the offensive boards -Detroit had seven at halftime- and held Atlanta to just 18 third quarter points and zero during the last minute and a half of the quarter. “You have to give their defense credit,” said Budenholzer. “The turnovers led to easy baskets.” Harris led Detroit in scoring with 19 points on an efficient 8-11 shooting. Avery Bradley added 18 points and Jackson finished with 11 points. Ilyasova scored a team-high 23 points as the team’s only double-figure scorer along with Collins. Hawks leading scorer Dennis Schroder and reserve forward Tyler Cavanaugh added nine points each.
“The great thing about the NBA, we have a game tomorrow, keep our heads up and get ready to go get on a plane to go to memphis and play tomorrow,” said Budenholzer.