The Detroit Pistons were blown out in two categories: points and rebounds.
Atlanta dominated the glass, 61-35. And it helped the Hawks comfortably put the Pistons away in Atlanta, running away with a 129-107 win, thanks to a 23-12 edge in second-chance points. It was Detroit’s 15th loss in 16 games.
Marvin Bagley III had his best night of the season, finishing one point shy of his career high with 31 points while knocking down a career-high four 3-pointers. He also tallied eight rebounds, three steals and two blocks. Killian Hayes added 21 points. Trae Young led Atlanta with 30 points and 12 assists, and Clint Capela (12 points, 16 rebounds) and ex-Piston Saddiq Bey (14 points, 11 rebounds) helped Atlanta grab most of the boards.
The game got away from Detroit in the third quarter, as the Pistons were outscored 33-19 while shooting 6-for-22 overall and 1-for-6 from 3.
MAN IN THE MIDDLE:Pistons want Jalen Duren to become their version of Miami’s Bam Adebayo, and he knows it
TV WOES?Bally Sports owner files for bankruptcy; Tigers, Red Wings, Pistons games not yet affected
Bagley stays hot, nearly matches career high
Since returning from his 20-game absence on Feb. 25, Bagley has been one of Detroit’s most reliable scorers. He averaged 13.4 points and 8.4 rebounds while shooting 52% overall in his nine games leading up to Tuesday.
Bagley is skilled inside the arc but has hit just 10 3-pointers in 34 games this season. He was uncharacteristically good on 3s against the Hawks, though, knocking down two in the opening period and adding two more in the second half, with his final one coming in the final minute for a career-best 4-for-5 mark from deep.
It was also one of his better defensive performances. He also had three stals ad two blocks, including a highlight transition block on a Young layup attempt that led to an R.J. Hampton 3-pointer on the opposite end. The basket extended a 14-2 Detroit run that briefly gave the Pistons the lead midway through the second quarter.
It has been an injury-plagued season for Bagley, who signed a three-year, $37.5 million extension last summer. But March has showcased the scoring and defensive upside that factored into the Pistons trading for the former 2018 No. 2 overall pick at last year’s deadline. The organization is committed to building with two bigs playing alongside each other, and Bagley is doing his part to make it work.
Pistons crushed on glass
Head coach Dwane Casey has been disappointed by Detroit’s rebounding efforts in recent weeks. Tuesday was the Pistons’ fourth game in a row being outrebounded, despite starting two plus rebounders — Bagley and James Wiseman — together for the second game in a row. The Hawks dominated the offensive glass early, building a 12-4 advantage at halftime.
That gap expanded as the game progressed, as Atlanta’s frontcourt feasted on a Pistons team without Jalen Duren (cervical whiplash) and Isaiah Stewart (left shoulder impingement). Detroit’s depth issues were exacerbated by Wiseman struggling with foul trouble. He picked up his fifth with 7:18 in the third quarter and fouled out just 43 seconds into the fourth despite sitting the remainder of the third.
The Pistons were forced to go small afterward, playing Eugene Omoruyi at center for a brief stretch in the final period before Bagley checked in with 9:48 remaining.
Bey tallies double-double in first game against former team
It has been six weeks since the Pistons executed their lone trade before the Feb. 9 deadline, trading for Wiseman in a four-team deal that sent Bey to Atlanta and Trey Lyles to the Portland Trail Blazers. Bey has shot well alongside Young, hitting 47.6% overall and 45.3% from 3 in 14 games with the Hawks.
“It was a tough decision for our organization,” Casey said before the game. “One, he’s a beautiful person, a beautiful man. He’s all about the right things. And that’s what’s tough when you have to go against someone that you (traded).
Bey’s best sequence of the night was one Pistons fans are familiar with, as he checked in for the first time toward the end of the first half and quickly got hot. Immediately, he drove right and drew contact under the rim from Omoruyi. He followed that with back-to-back 3-pointers at the end of the first to help the Hawks take a six-point lead.
After the game, he greeted his former teammates and exchanged jerseys with his 2020 draft classmate, Killian Hayes.