Pis­tons take down Hawks

Vis­i­tors seize con­trol early en route to sec­ond straight win

The Detroit News - - Sports - BY ROD BEARD The Detroit News

At­lanta — Some­times, the sched­ule just works in a team’s fa­vor. The Pis­tons got what they needed, just when they needed it.

Af­ter a slow start to their sea­son, the Pis­tons’ sched­ule pro­vided the re­build­ing At­lanta Hawks to help squelch their strug­gles.

The Pis­tons pounced early, built a dou­ble-digit lead in the first five min­utes and never let the Hawks back in the game, cruis­ing to a 124-109 vic­tory on Fri­day night at State Farm Arena. It’s the sec­ond straight win for the Pis­tons (6-5), who had sea­son bests of 40 points af­ter the first quar­ter and 74 at half­time.

An­dre Drum­mond had 23 points and 11 re­bounds, Stan­ley John­son 22 points and seven re­bounds and Blake Grif­fin added six points, nine re­bounds and nine as­sists.

The Pis­tons took con­trol in the open­ing min­utes, hit­ting their first three shots — a 3pointer from Reg­gie Jack­son (10 points), a lay-in by Drum­mond and a 3-pointer by Reg­gie Bul­lock — in the first 1:03, to pull ahead, 8-3.

The Hawks (3-9) got a jumper from Omari Spell­man (14 points) but the Pis­tons re­sponded with a 10-0 run — with two jumpers from Bul­lock and two bas­kets from Drum­mond — and ex­panded it to an 18-3 spurt with a 3pointer and jumper from Glenn Robin­son III (12 points) and an­other 3-pointer from Bul­lock, for a 26-8 mar­gin.

The Pis­tons raced to a 20point lead by the end of the quar­ter, as Drum­mond notched 12 points and three re­bounds and Bul­lock had 10 points.

The rout con­tin­ued into the sec­ond half, when the Pis­tons’ lead bal­looned to 103-77 and they were able to play mostly re­serves in the third quar­ter.

Here are some other ob­ser­va­tions from Fri­day’s win:

1. Blake Grif­fin showed other sides to his game, look­ing ac­tively to find open team­mates and grab re­bounds in­stead of scor­ing. Rather than take open shots him­self, he ran the of­fense and waited for plays to de­velop, help­ing to build to­ward his nine as­sists.

He seemed in­tent on get­ting oth­ers in­volved, es­pe­cially Reg­gie Bul­lock, who had been strug­gling with his shot in re­cent games. Af­ter scor­ing one point in the first half, Grif­fin got go­ing, but didn’t get close to a triple­dou­ble, af­ter sit­ting from the mid­dle of the third quar­ter on.

2. Stan­ley John­son had a sec­ond strong game. He had been strug­gling from 3-point range, but in the past two games seems to have found a bet­ter rhythm with the sec­ond unit, play­ing more in tran­si­tion and free flow­ing with the of­fense in that group. He played more min­utes as the power for­ward with the re­serves and looked more com­fort­able than with the starters. John­son may have found his role.

3. Bul­lock ended his shoot­ing slump with 13 points, in­clud­ing 3-of-6 on 3-point­ers. Side­lined by in­juries for a week, Bul­lock re­turned to his bet­ter form. The key was get­ting hot early in the game and es­tab­lish­ing a rhythm. From there, he was able to cruise, with a cou­ple more bas­kets in­side the arc.

4. Langston Gal­loway con­tin­ued his of­fen­sive on­slaught, with an­other good shoot­ing game, pour­ing in 16 points, in­clud­ing 5of-9 on 3-point­ers.

He also has set­tled into a nice role as the pri­mary shooter on the sec­ond group. In just 24 min­utes, he found a rhythm and Casey is laud­ing his de­fense as well.

5. Drum­mond had an­other solid game but his en­ergy and ef­fi­ciency are be­com­ing more ap­par­ent. He fin­ished 10-of-15 from the field, calmly chose shots and at­tacked the rim. He also got more ag­gres­sive on the de­fen­sive end, to­tal­ing four blocks.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Stan­ley John­son net­ted 22 points and seven re­bounds in Detroit’s vic­tory on Fri­day in At­lanta.

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