The Hawks’ starting lineup against the Pistons tonight looked a little different as Cam Reddish and De’Andre Hunter didn’t play. Soloman Hill and Kevin Huerter got the start in place of the two, both of whom contributed early.
Trae Young struggled in the first half from the field and even the charity stripe. He uncharacteristically missed three of his four free throws in the first quarter, but that was okay because John Collins came out hot. After one, the Pistons led the Hawks 31-29, but Collins had 12 of the Hawks’ points, and Trae was at least getting him involved.
The start of the second quarter consisted much of both team’s backups trading possessions via turnovers. Clint Capela picked up the slack, though, recording his eighth double-double with seven minutes left in the period.
Capela and Collins both scored 14 points in the first half, with Capela adding 14 rebounds — 10 which were offensive — and two blocks. It still wasn’t enough to overcome the bench and Young’s shortcomings, as the Hawks were down 52-45 going into the break. The bench didn’t score a single point on six shots in the first half.
The start of the third quarter wasn’t much better than the first two. An 11-4 run forced Lloyd Pierce to take a timeout less than three minutes into the second half. With six minutes left in the third quarter, the deficit was still 14 points, the same as when Pierce took that initial timeout.
Trae’s free throw mishaps turned around as he went on to make eight consecutive from the line and totaled 27 points at the end of the third — 21 of which came in the third quarter alone — but the Hawks still trailed 92-78.
The fourth quarter looked a lot like the previous three… until it didn’t. The Hawks couldn’t maintain their rhythm on the offensive end, and the Pistons stayed ahead by double-digits. However, everything changed after a successful challenge by Lloyd Pierce. Kevin Huerter nailed a three from Hartsfield-Jackson International to cut Detroit’s lead to 10 with just over four minutes to go, and then, a combination of Trae and John Collins cut the lead to just two with less than two minutes left.
A circus and-one by Blake Griffin extended the lead back to five, but the Pistons immediately fouled Trae on the two subsequent possessions. He made three of four, cutting the lead to two with thirty seconds left. This was once a 17 point lead, I might remind you. With 20 seconds left, Pierce called a timeout after a defensive stop that resulted in a dime from Trae to Capela for a game-tying slam dunk with just five seconds left. The Hawks went on a 24-7 run the last seven minutes, and regulation ended with a disrespectful block by John Collins.
Entering overtime, Trae had 35, and John had 29. Detroit would go on to score the next five points, but an unbelievable individual effort by Clint would cut the lead back to three, and a Soloman Hill jumper from behind the arc tied the game. Capela had an absolutely masterful performance, recording 27 points and 26 rebounds that included a late and-one to put the Hawks up three with a minute and a half left in overtime. He abused Mason Plumlee all night, eventually getting him to foul out.
In the subsequent possession, the Pistons failed to convert, and Trae Young hit a dagger three for a season-high 38 points to stretch the lead to six. The Pistons would never recover, and somehow the Hawks escaped with an eight-point win on their home court.