Who?: Atlanta Hawks (20-11) at Detroit Pistons (13-22)
What?: Hawks lose heart-breaker 85-84
Where?: Palace of Auburn Hills (Detroit, MI)
When?: Friday, Jan. 4, 2013 — 7:30 PM (ET)
How?: Officials overturned critical 3-point call
Minutes: Jeff Teague (42)
Points: Josh Smith & Austin Daye (20)
Rebounds: Al Horford (15)
Assists: Jeff Teague (9)
Steals: Greg Monroe (3)
Blocks: Jason Maxiell (3)
The Atlanta Hawks lost a heartbreaker to the Detroit Pistons 85-84 Friday night on a reversed three-point call that would have tied the score and push the game into overtime. Instead, Al Horford’s long shot attempt was ruled a two-pointer and Atlanta inevitably lost the game.
The play was originally called a successful three-point make, but after the officials went to the replay, they deemed Horford’s foot was on the perimeter line and officially reversed the ruling from a three-point shot to only a two-point shot.
With just five seconds remaining in the game, the Hawks found themselves trailing 85-84 and in need of a miracle. They came close when Jeff Teague stole Detroit’s inbound pass and got a fortunate timeout out call before advancing the ball.
Teague intercepted the pass and took a dribble before calling the timeout, which should have meant the Hawks take their ensuing possession out from their own side of the court, but the officials must have felt bad for taking away a point and let them take the ball out from Detroit’s side, making it a lot closer for the Hawks to get off a decent shot attempt.
After the timeout, Horford got the inbound pass from Lou Williams but quickly called another timeout with three ticks on the clock after Pistons forward Andre Drummond swarmed in and covered up any open space for Horford to get off a shot.
Horford made sure to get some space on the next play, pushing off Drummound to get the inbound pass from Williams, and tried to give a quick pass back to Williams who went sprinting to the corner behind the three-point line, but Rodney Stuckey clogged up the lane with his active defensive hands and delayed the pass, allowing Drummond time to switch down to Williams and block the shot attempt to end the game.
Austin Daye led Detroit with a season-high 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting to go along with six rebounds and one assist in 22 minutes of action. Greg Monroe was 5-of-14 shooting and narrowly missed a double-double with 18 points and nine rebounds (five offensive), while converting 8-of-10 foul shots in the game. Jason Maxiell and Rodney Stuckey both scored 10 points each.
Al Horford had a double-double for the Hawks with 18 points and 15 boards, while Lou Williams (17) and Kyle Korver (10) also scored in double-figures. Horford’s front court running mate Josh Smith led the Hawks with a team-high 20 points.
Smith only played 31 minutes in the game, none of which in the fourth quarter. He was taken out of the game for Ivan Johnson with six seconds left in the third and didn’t return until there was five seconds remaining in regulation. Johnson and Anthony Tolliver provided the bulk of the fourth-quarter minutes in Smith’s absence.
Detroit bullied Atlanta on the boards, outrebounding them by a 56-38 margin and outscoring the Hawks in the paint 52-34. Both teams had a horrible shooting night as neither side shot better than 35% from downtown, 61% from the charity stripe, and 42% overall.
The Detroit Pistons (13-22) host the Charlotte Bobcats (8-24) on Sunday, Jan. 6, at 7:30 PM (ET).
The Atlanta Hawks (20-11) host rival Boston Celtics (15-17) on Saturday, Jan. 5, at at 7:00 PM (ET).
Hawks-Pistons games always seem to be interesting to the final buzzer, and tonight’s was no exception. Despite possibly playing their worst first through third quarters of the year, the Hawks made a panicked comeback in the fourth but came up short 85-84.
Josh had many early attempts at the rim and seemingly no Piston could stop him in transition from throwing one down dunks. However, the Hawks returned the favor for Greg Monroe. Tayshaun Prince, as well, was able to get free multiple times with the smaller Kyle Korver guarding him. Al and Josh combined for first 20 points, exploiting poor lateral speed from Piston bigs. Korver missed all four of his 4 first half shots.
In the first quarter, Horford and Smith shot 9-13, but the rest of the team was a combined 0-7. Free throw woes continued for Horford (0-3 on the night), who came into tonight shooting a poor .586 FT% on the season. His career average is .746 and the lowest it has ever been prior to 2012-13 is .727.
Ivan Johnson had the first points of the game for the Hawks outside of Al and Josh. They were free throws at 9:30 of the second quarter to end a 13-0 Piston run spanning the first and second quarters. However, this did not help to heal the sluggish and dysfunctional Hawk offense. Lou and Jeff Teague looked scared to penetration and Singler’s length made Lou wary to run the offense. The entire offense was out out of tune, had no rhythm, many players missed open shots and hesitated. Likewise, the defense was slow, as if weary from the grind of a tough NBA schedule.
By the end of the second quarter, Al and Josh had combined for 11-21 shooting and everyone else for 3-18. Hawks 2-14 three point shooting in first half and were swamped by Detroit in points in the paint margin 30-18.
The three ball came alive in third as Lou, Teague and Korver all got in the mix. Lou was 3-4 from three in the third quarter. However, on defense they still looked like a collective of players, not a team, repeatedly failing to show on pick and rolls and leaving shooters like Austin Daye open on the wing. Daye burned the Hawks badly and finished with 20 points on 9-11 shooting and 6 rebounds.
The fourth quarter was more of the same, but at 6:35 in the fourth, Andre Drummond received a technical foul for throwing Zaza Pachulia to the floor while fighting for a rebound. From that point, Atlanta went on a mad 16-0 run in only 3 minutes to bring the score from 83-66 to 83-82. The Hawks picked up the tempo notably during that stretch, hit open three pointers and scrambled to the ball on defense to create turnovers.
However, the Hawks only had one bucket in the last 3 minutes, and it was a controversial two points. Horford hit what appeared to be a three with 5.6 seconds left, but the officials saw Al’s foot on the three point arc and overturned it. With 5.6 seconds left, Tayshaun Prince threw away a pass inbounds but on the other end, the Hawks could not capitalize, with a Lou Williams heave as the buzzer sounded knocked away by Andre Drummond.
Despite the Hawks holding the Pistons to only two points in the last 7 minutes of the game, the Pistons were able to take home the game to bring their record to 13-22. The problem for the Hawks rests in it’s paint production. Atlanta was gutted there, getting outrebounded 56-38.
Honestly, there is not much to break down tonight. It was simply a bad game where shots were not falling and the Hawks clearly let it get to their heads for too long. If a pattern emerges during a week’s worth of games telling a similar tale, then beware. However, even the best team succumb to poor efforts from time to time.
Game Grades: Each player is given a grade on an A+ through F scale based upon their game performance.
Brandon Knight: D
The second-year pro played a team-high 34 minutes and finished with eight points on 4-of-11 shooting, while dishing out four assists and committing two turnovers. He was a team-worst -9 while on the court.
Kyle Singler: C-
Played 16 minutes, scored two points. Nothing much else to say.
Tyshaun Prince: C
Six points on 2-of-12 shooting in 29 minutes of action. Prince did grab six rebounds though — two more than his season average.
Jason Maxiell: A-
Maxiell provided the two biggest defensive stops for the Pistons and posted a double-double in the game with 10 points and 10 rebounds, while shooting a team-best 66.6% (4-of-6) from the field. He was also the only Detroit stater to record a positive mark in the +/- category with +6.
Greg Monroe: B-
The former Georgetown standout narrowly missed a double-double as he led the Pistons with 18 points to go along with nine boards and a team-high three steals in 34 minutes of play. Monroe struggled from the field, shooting just 5-of-14 overall but converted 8-of-10 foul shots in the game.
Austin Daye came off the bench and scored a season-high 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting, while grabbing six rebounds in 22 minutes of action. Rodney Stuckey added 10 points, four rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block while posting a mark of +19 while on the court. Andre Drummond chipped in with six points nine boards while also getting the game-winning block on Lou Williams to end the game.
Coach Lawrence Frank: A
Coach Frank got his team out to a 15-point halftime lead and then pushed the right buttons down the stretch such as inserting Maxiell into the game at crunch time and having that move pay off when Maxiell came up with the two biggest defensive stands of the game.
Jeff Teague: D
Couldn’t take advantage of Brandon Knight at all and only finished with five points on 2-of-9 shooting. Teague did lead the team in assists with nine, but also in turnovers with five.
Lou Williams: B
Williams continues to produce since being inserted into the starting lineup eight games ago and finished Friday’s matchup with 18 points and eight assists, while posting a +12 mark in the game.
Kyle Korver: C-
All nine of Korver’s shot attempts were from behind the arc — he only made three of them. For a sharp-shooter, Korver had an awfully tough time getting on target (haha). He finished with 10 points, five assists and three rebounds in 33 minutes of gametime.
Josh Smith: D
I feel bad for giving Smoove such a low grade, but coach Drew made the decision to sit Smith for practically the entire fourth quarter and the move paid off as the Hawks went on a 16-0 roll late in the fourth quarter and cut the deficit down to 83-82. The team wasn’t hindered in any sense by Smith’s absence — they actually played as a more cohesive unit. That doesn’t look good for Josh.
Al Horford: A+
What else can you say about Al? Dude is just a rock of consistency. He finished with a double-double performance of 18 points and 15 rebounds, while shooting a stellar 9-of-13 from the field to go along with three assists in 40 minutes of action. Next time though, Al — clip your toe nails.
The bench combined to shoot 3-of-12 in the game with Zaza Pachulia accounting for all three baskets — Ivan Johnson, John Jenkins and Anthony Tolliver were 0-7. Pachulia was 3-of-5 from both the field and charity-stripe for a total of nine points.
Coach Larry Drew: A
LD worked with what he had and that was a short-handed lineup without three key players: Devin Harris, DeShawn Stevenson and Anthony Morrow. Drew made good adjustments at halftime with the Hawks trailing by 15 and also made the right call to sit Josh Smith in the fourth quarter so the team could get quality shot attempts instead of dealing with Smith’s sporadic shot selection. You pulled the right strings and pushed the right buttons, LD. Just came up a hair short.
SDS Player of the Game
With the Hawks on a 16-2 run and threatening to take the lead with under two minutes remaining, Jason Maxiell made two huge blocks on Al Horford and Zaza Pachulia within a thirty second span to help the Pistons hang on for a one-point victory.
SDS Plays of the Game
The Hawks did a nice job of battling back from a 51-36 halftime deficit and had the Pistons shaking in their high-top’s in the fourth quarter as they reeled off a 16-0 run, bringing the lead down to 83-82 with 3:13 remaining, but Atlanta just couldn’t get over the hump as Detroit hung on to win 85-84.
The Hawks can’t keep playing down to the standards of inferior opponents and need to crush teams such as the Pistons. There is absolutely no excuse why a 20-10 team should lose to a 12-22 team.
The Atlanta Hawks (20-11) host rival Boston Celtics (15-17) on Saturday, Jan. 5, at at 7:00 PM (ET).
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