Rajon Rondo proving vital in his early games with the Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks advanced to 3-0 on the season after a 128-120 victory over the Detroit Pistons at Phillips Arena on Monday night. 

Trae Young had a stellar game as he finished with 29 points and six assists and helped seal the Hawks’ victory. Atlanta will need someone to close games in tight games, and Young looks best positioned to do so. Young knows what that team can be capable of and is excited about the future. 

“I’m super excited about this team just need to get everybody healthy, and it will be fun,” Young said. “You see the depth we have.”

But the other story of the night: Rajon Rondo. A 13-year veteran, Rondo proved in his team-debut that he could run the second unit well. He finished with 12 points and eight assists in just 15 minutes of play. 

When Rondo is in the game, the team plays well together, and his veteran leadership calms the team. His court vision and scoring allowed Atlanta to jump out to a big lead in the fourth quarter. His teammates raved about his play also.

Clint Capela is finally seeing action after an Achilles tear over a year ago robbed him of much of his sixth NBA season. Now in Atlanta, the big man raved about Rondo.

“He always makes the right plays,” Capela said.“Since the first day, Rondo has been vocal.”

Another new face enjoying Rondo’s court presence is Bogdan Bogdanovic, who scored 17 points and knocked down five threes in the win.

“With him, it is so simple to play,” Bogdanovic said about Rondo. “We need a guy who can bring experience.”

A former All-Star and two-time NBA champ, including last season with the Los Angeles Lakers, Rondo will be an integral part of Atlanta’s success. 

Assists and three-point shooting were contributing factors to Atlanta being able to score the ball so well. The team finished with 30 assists and shot 47% from three-point range. Although it has only been three games, the Hawks share the ball well and continue to impress.

Atlanta had another hot start and finished with 33 points in the first quarter. 

A bright spot: The Hawks continue to show the ability to score in bunches and jump out to big leads early in games. 

Everyone contributed tonight as seven players finished in double figures for the Hawks. This team is loaded with depth and have all season to jell into their roles and put players in the best position to succeed. 

The Pistons were without Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose, but offseason free-agent signees Jerami Grant and Josh Jackson both finished with 27 points and hit key shots down the stretch. 

The poor defense for Lloyd Pierce’s team allowed Detroit to stay within striking distance. After building a 20 point lead early in the fourth quarter, turnovers and putrid transition defense allowed the Pistons to cut the deficit and make Atlanta close them out. 

“We watched our transition defense, and it was pretty pathetic at first.” “The points in the paint they had was just based off of energy,” Pierce said. 

While closing games is still a work in progress, the Hawks have shown they are improving in this category, a welcoming sight to see. The late shotmaking of Trae Young and the crucial stops helped the Hawks stay undefeated. 

It doesn’t get any easier going forward for Atlanta as their first significant challenge of the early season comes Wednesday when they visit the Brooklyn Nets.