Detroit Pistons blow out Hawks, 122-101, with mighty third quarter

Detroit Free Press

Winning hasn’t come easy for the Detroit Pistons this season. But they made it look that way Wednesday.

The Pistons used a 27-6 third-quarter run to take control  and blow out the Atlanta Hawks at Little Caesars Arena, 122-101. It’s their biggest winning margin of the season. Detroit took the lead for good with 10:22 to play in the second, after Killian Hayes split a trip to the line following a flagrant-1 foul from Bogdan Bogdanovic. The Pistons shot 60% in the third quarter and 50% for the game.

Jerami Grant led the Pistons with 21 points and added eight rebounds and four assists, Cade Cunningham tallied 17 points, eight assists and six rebounds, and Kelly Olynyk added 16 points off of the bench. Killian Hayes also had a strong performance with 13 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

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The Hawks, who were on the second night of a back-to-back, appeared to run out of steam after the first quarter. Trae Young led them with 21 points and nine assists.

Grant continues hot streak

Wednesday was Grant’s ninth of 11 games with at least 20 points. He, Cunningham and Saddiq Bey entered Wednesday averaging better than 20 points per game since Feb. 27. But Grant has been the most efficient scorer of the three, and he had another efficient night against Atlanta.

Grant knocked down six of 11 shots, including two of four 3-pointers, and seven of eight free throws. In his previous 10 games, dating back to Feb. 27, he averaged 22.4 points on 48.7% shooting, 43.8% 3-point shooting and 81.5% at the line.

After a slow, injury-marred start to the season, Grant is showing that he can thrive next to Detroit’s emerging young core. Since Feb. 14, the Pistons are 6-6 with all three in the roster, and are a plus-2.7 when they share the court.

Olynyk stays hot, too

It also took Olynyk some time to find his rhythm this season. He appeared in just 10 games before a left knee sprain sidelined him for 33 games from Nov. 12-Jan. 18. He returned for two games, but a bout of COVID-19 caused him to miss four additional games before he came back for good.

In his most recent 11 games entering Wednesday, Olynyk averaged 8.6 points, 4 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 17.4 minutes per game, while shooting 55%, 52% from 3 and 88.9% at the line. He’s been hyper-efficient and is a key reason why the Pistons have five wins in that span.

Bey sets Pistons’ single-season 3-point record

Bey can shoot. He proved it last season, several times over, with 175 3-point makes, on a 38% clip, to finish third all-time among rookies in 3-pointers made in a season.

He set another record on Wednesday, going 3-for-9 from 3 to increase his sophomore season tally to 192. It’s a franchise record, topping Allan Houston’s total of 191 set during the 1995-96 season.

Contact Omari Sankofa II at osankofa@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa. The Free Press has started a new digital subscription model. Here’s how you can gain access to our most exclusive Pistons content. Read more on the Detroit Pistons and sign up for our Pistons newsletter.

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