Hawks roll over Pistons, inch closer to club record for consecutive wins
ATLANTA — The Atlanta Hawks extended their winning streak to 13 games Monday at Philips Arena, defeating the Detroit Pistons 93-82 in a special MLK Day afternoon outing.
With the victory, the Hawks — who hold a 3-0 seasonal edge over the Pistons — are now within immediate grasp of tying the franchise’s all-time mark for consecutive wins (14 — from the 1993-94 season).
Atlanta can match the club record at home Wednesday against Indiana (15-28).
Led by Mike Scott and Paul Millsap on Monday (20 points apiece), the Hawks (34-8, tops in the Eastern Conference) were on point offensively; but head coach Mike Budenholzer said that, ultimately, it’s not what led to victory.
"Our defense has to be there every night. That’s what put us in a position to win," said Budenholzer, in his second year with the team.
The Hawks defense was productive from the outset, holding the Pistons (16-26) to 35-percent shooting from the field and just 26 percent from beyond the arc (9 of 35). The only trouble spot involved rebounding, with Atlanta losing that battle by a sizable margin (61-42).
"We just couldn’t get it going offensively," said Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy. "I give their defense a lot of credit."
Detroit had a rough night from the charity stripe, making only 15 of 26 attempts. But the large portion of misses can be attributed to Andre Drummond, who clanked nine of 12 free throws. As such, Van Gundy was compelled to sit his center for the fourth quarter.
"They were just going to foul him," Van Gundy said. He then added about Drummond: "We were going to be playing four on five on the offensive end. Maybe you can get away with that when you’re ahead, but not when you’re behind."
Regarding the one-sided battle of the boards, Budenholzer said the Hawks will continue to work on their efficiency along the defensive end. The players echoed that sentiment.
"We won the game with defense," said Hawks guard Kyle Korver, who scored 13 points (three triples). "We try to make them all, but you’re going to miss some and you’re going to have some nights where maybe you don’t shoot as well as you want to. Those are nights when you have to rely on defense."
What ultimately lost the game for the Pistons was their struggle to make the shots that mattered, free throws and in the paint.
"We took some of the shots we wanted to take tonight, but some of them just didn’t fall through," said Greg Monroe, who led Detroit with 16 points and 20 rebounds. (Drummond and Monroe accounted for 38 of the 61 boards.)