KENTAVIOUS Caldwell-Pope waxed hot early and led Detroit’s torrid shooting from beyond the arc as the Pistons sent the Atlanta Hawks reeling their fifth straight loss with a 36-point drubbing, 121-85, at the Philips Arena on Friday (Saturday, Manila time).
Caldwell-Pope set the tone for the blowout win early, with 15 first-quarter points and 20 in the half including four triples, as the Pistons matched a franchise-record 17 threes in the game. The Detroit defense also forced Atlanta to miss 10 straight shots in the second quarter to push the lead to 51-32, and held Hawks star center Dwight Howard to just two points.
The third quarter was no different as the Pistons outscored the Hawks 32-18 in the period, and Detroit never let up in building its biggest lead at 37 in the dying seconds of the match.
Seven Pistons scored in double figures, led by Caldwell-Pope who had 23 points and five of the team’s triples. Tobias Harris and Andre Drummond chipped in 18 and 14 markers, respectively, and Jon Leuer sank four threes and added 16 off the bench. The surging Detroit team moved to 11-10 and moved up the standings above Atlanta who fell to 10-10.
Dennis Schroder led the Hawks with 17 points and 13 assists, while Tim Hardaway Jr. and Mike Muscala each scored 11. Atlanta has lost eight of its last nine games, the past two without injured star Paul Millsap.