The Detroit Pistons (20-24) started their three-game home stand strong, winning big against the red-hot Atlanta Hawks (24-18).
It all starts with defense.
Before the Detroit Pistons started heating up on the offensive end against the Atlanta Hawks, they set the tone by coming out engaged and disciplined defensively, holding the Hawks scoreless on its first five possessions. That effort carried over on offense, too. The Pistons played smart and unselfish basketball, and, thanks to some hot shooting from beyond the arc, led 42-18 at the end of the first quarter and 69-45 at the half–the team’s highest scoring first quarter and first half of the season.
Detroit cruised to victory in the second half, led by Reggie Jackson‘s 26 points and Marcus Morris‘s near triple-double of 14 points, ten rebounds and seven assists.
The Pistons shot 49.5 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point range. The team’s hustle, focus and unselfishness bore dividends on the stat sheet, as Detroit outrebounded the Hawks by 28–per ESPN Stats & Info, the highest rebound differential in a game for the Pistons since 1990. The Pistons finished with 27 assists, just four shy of their season high, and all five starters scored at least 13 points.
It was an impressive win for the Pistons after a grueling West Coast road trip. They’ll try to extend their winning streak to three games when they host the Wizards at 6 p.m. on Saturday.
Reggie Jackson led the Pistons in scoring with 26 points, and he did it in a lot of different ways. His floater was on point, he shot 50 percent from 3-point range, and he was his typical aggressive self around the rim. He recorded four assists to three turnovers, and though he took a team-high 20 shots, he wasn’t guilty of the ball stopping or overdribbling that has stalled the offense at points this season. All in all, this was one of the best versions of Reggie we’ve seen all season.
Reggie Bullock got the start in place of the injured Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and he played well in the win. Bullock scored 15 points to go along with six rebounds and four assists. He showed a little bit of rust with a pair of turnovers, but his movement off the ball was fantastic, and his cuts to the basket helped ignite the Detroit offense all game long.
This might have been the best game of the season for Marcus Morris. He was only 1-for-6 from three-point range, but he moved the ball as well as he has all season, and his balanced overall game kept him on triple-double watch until he took a seat for good in the third quarter. He also played solid defense on Paul Millsap, especially in the first half.
It was a three-point party early, and Tobias Harris led the way. With Jackson, he ignited the Detroit offense in the first half before cooling off in the third quarter. Harris finished with 19 points on 7-for-12 shooting (4-for-6 from downtown).
The numbers show a pretty typical night for Andre Drummond–13 points and 17 rebounds–but he was locked in from the start. He finished through contact at the basket, fought for rebounds and stayed pretty disciplined on defense. His body language was positive all game. The Hawks employed the Hack-a-Dre strategy in the third quarter. After Drummond missed both free throws, his day was done.
Ish Smith was solid off the bench, scoring 6 points and dishing 4 assists in 18 minutes. He crossed up Paul Millsap and had a couple of nice finishes at the rim.
Darrun Hilliard got some run in the second half, when the game was already out of reach, and he was…well, not great. The second-year guard continues to struggle on both ends of the floor. He made two free throws but missed both of his field goals, including an airball on a 3-point attempt. He was the only Pistons player to finish with a net negative (-5).
Stanley Johnson continued his strong play against the Hawks. In 32 minutes off the bench, he finished with seven points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals. He turned the ball over three times, but he defended well, had some nice passes (including a no-looker to Aron Baynes) and was aggressive offensively.
Baynes played well in 22 minutes off the bench. He scored 12 points on 6-for-8 free throw shooting. Baynes recorded four rebounds and two assists and four personal fouls. He passed the ball well, got good positioning in the paint, set some monstrous screens and made very few mistakes.
The fans wanted Boban Marjanovic, and they got their wish! The crowd erupted when the bench mob came in with just over two minutes to go. Marjanovic had one bucket and two rebounds in two minutes of garbage time.
Henry Ellenson scored his only two points with just under a minute left on a nice drive to the basket.
Stan Van Gundy
Head Coach,Detroit Pistons
After a long road trip, and with an injury-riddled roster, Stan Van Gundy had his guys ready to go against the Hawks. The Pistons were focused and energetic from the get-go, and SVG deserves some credit for that.