The Detroit Pistons dropped their fifth straight game in Atlanta tonight, losing by 25 points to the hometown Hawks 130-105. Trae Young and Dejounte Murray lead the way for Atlanta scoring 26 points each. Killian Hayes had a nice bounce-back performance, finishing with 17 points, five rebounds and five assists. Bojan Bogdanovic and Jaden Ivey chipped in with 23 and 15 points, respectively.
The third quarter of this one tells you everything you need to know about the game. After working their way to a 63-60 lead at the half, the Pistons allowed the Hawks to take an early nine-point lead only minutes into the third period. Trae Young destroyed the Pistons with his dribble penetration and creation inside the arc. He scored or assisted on 10 points of the Hawks 13-0 run which was the catalyst to the aforementioned nine-point lead.
Trae Young is a problem. He has 14 of his game-high 25 in the 3Q. Hawks lead 90-79.— Johnny Kane (@JohnnyKaneTV) December 24, 2022
From here, Detroit never really registered a punch, scoring 42 second-half points on a woeful 31.1% field goal percentage. The offense lacked any consistent ball movement and for the most part it just felt like guys were trying to rack up numbers. There were countless possessions where four Piston players stood and watched while the player with the ball tried to force a drive through multiple Hawks defenders, only to be meet at the rim by Clint Capela or John Collins.
On the flip side, Trae Young created high quality look and high quality look for his teammates by way of his mercurial ball handling and passing. Bally Sports Detroit’s Greg Kelser noted on the broadcast, “Trae Young has the Pistons constantly off-balance” after yet another one of Young’s successful drives into the painted area.
Trae to John is art. pic.twitter.com/TKDlhT5y9U— Bally Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnBally) December 24, 2022
After a slow start, Young finished with a game-high 26 points and 13 assists.
For Detroit, Hayes was one of the few bright spots in the blowout loss. Since scoring a season-high 25 points against the Charlotte Hornets, the Frenchman had struggled to put the ball in the basket. In his past four, he was averaging nine points on 34.5% shooting efficiency. Tonight, he showed that the improvements in his play are sustainable, finishing with 17 points and 5 assists, nailing 7-of-10 field goal tries.
The pull-up jumper between 11-19 feet has become the 21-year-old’s preferred weapon of choice when it comes to scoring, converting on all five attempts in the aforementioned range:
An aggressive Killian is what we need tonight pic.twitter.com/nwWQbLPU3Q— Rip Haminkton (@RedAlternates) December 24, 2022
- Jalen Duren’s final line of 13 points and 8 rebounds probably looks better than his play itself. Trae Young had the 19-0year-old at his mercy in the pick-and-roll. Duren was often caught out of position trying to defend Young and Capela in drop-coverage. This is nothing to be concerned about long term, but tonight was definitely a learning experience for the young centre.
- Jaden Ivey once again started well out of the gates. He scored 11 of his 15 points in the first half and made a number of highlight reel plays. In the second-half the Hawks loaded up the interior and making it difficult for the rookie to create high percentage looks. Ivey also had a few instances where he missed wide-open teammates for threes due to his intense tunnel vision.
- The bench had an uncharacteristic off-night. Excluding six garbage-time points from Hamidou Diallo, the first five off the bench registered only 24 points. Alec Burks lead the bench with seven points.
- Troy Weaver was in the building for tonight’s contest and I’m sure he would of kept a keen eye on Hawks forward John Collins. Collins has been the subject of trade rumors for the past couple of trade periods. Collins finished with eight points, 12 boards and three blocks, not his greatest performance, but his skillet at the power forward position is a stark contrast to what Detroit currently have on the roster. So I’ll finish with a question: If the price was right, would you be happy to bring Collins to the Motor City?