Pistons, after losing 17-point fourth-quarter lead, fall to Hawks in OT
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Three quick observations from Wednesday night’s 123-115 overtime loss to the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena
THAT STINGS – Jerami Grant’s first month with the Pistons is verging on historic achievements. He got the Pistons off and running in Wednesday’s win at Atlanta, scoring 12 first-quarter points, and he finished with 32 – his 13th consecutive game more than 20 points. But Grant’s winning layup try at the regulation buzzer was blocked from behind by John Collins and the Pistons, who led by 17 with seven minutes to play, lost in overtime. Grant scored the first five points of overtime, but Atlanta came back again, taking the lead with 1:27 left on Clint Capela’s three-point play. The Hawks went on a 10-0 run after Grant’s two free throws broke a 111-all tie. Capela finished with 27 points and 26 rebounds, Young with 38 points and 10 assists. Atlanta cut its deficit to two points with 1:15 left in regulation. Blake Griffin’s three-point play 11 seconds later made it a five-point lead, but the Hawks cut it back to two with 34 seconds on Trae Young’s free throws and tied it with five seconds left when Young found Capela for the dunk. Delon Wright and Mason Plumlee both fouled out for the Pistons as Atlanta held a 36-19 edge in free throws. Wright keyed an early second-half run that saw the Pistons take a 14-point lead, but Young – after a quiet first half in which he shot 2 of 11 and hit just 1 of 5 free throws – got going midway through the quarter, scoring 21 points in the quarter. But after Young pulled the Hawks within three points, the Pistons closed the quarter on an 11-0 run. Grant came into the game with a streak of 12 consecutive games as the Pistons leading scorer, tied with Bob Lanier for the fifth-longest stretch in franchise history. The Hawks were missing several key players, including 2019 lottery picks De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish and off-season acquisitions Danilo Gallinari, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Kris Dunn.
ROSE ON A ROLL – The Pistons went into the game averaging 45.1 points off of their bench, best in the NBA. The driver of that has been Derrick Rose, who continued his surge in play since returning last weekend from a two-game absence with left knee soreness. Rose, coming off games of 23 and 21 points in Miami, scoring 14 points in 24 minutes. Bench production took a dip in Monday’s game at Miami, though, Rose’s efforts notwithstanding. Josh Jackson’s 12 points at Miami accounted for all but one of the non-Rose bench points. At Atlanta, the bench outscored Atlanta’s 33-4. Dwane Casey juggled his second-half rotation, using Svi Mykahiliuk in the second half after Sekou Doumbouya played in the first. Josh Jackson slid from backcourt to frontcourt to accommodate the different configuration, which might have been driven in part by Casey’s decision to use Jackson defensively against Trae Young during his torrid third-quarter run. Rookie Saddiq Bey, after an auspicious first three weeks, has run into his first bout of adversity. Bey scored five points in Saturday’s win at Miami but had his first scoreless outing in Monday’s loss and was scoreless again in eight minutes at Atlanta.
HAYES UPDATE – The Pistons issued an update on the injury status of rookie point guard Killian Hayes, injured on Jan. 4 at Milwaukee, before Wednesday’s game. Hayes’ right hip injury is being called a subluxation after originally being called a torn labrum. Hayes saw specialists in New York and Cleveland. The protocol for Hayes is to undergo eight weeks of rest and rehabilitation of the injury. Hayes, 19, was the No. 7 pick in the November draft and had started all seven Pistons games at the time of his injury. With the caveat that no two injuries are the same – and every rehabilitation proceeds on its own course – it has to be interpreted as encouraging that specialists concur that rehabilitation is the proper course of treatment. An injury that required surgical remedies – and could be readily identified as such – would ordinarily be categorized as more serious in nature.