The Atlanta Hawks did not walk out of Detroit with a win, but coach Mike Budenholzer has to be happy with the effort the team gave given the circumstances. Against the Detroit Pistons, the Hawks were without a number of key players such as Jeff Teague, Pero Antic and Gustavo Ayon, who are all sitting out with injuries. Even though their absence from the lineup cost the Hawks a win, it was nice to see some bench players step up to try and fill the void.
This was especially apparent with Shelvin Mack, who had to replace Teague as the starting point guard last night. Replacing his production would not be easy for the guard out of Butler, but he was more than up to the task to prove to coach Bud why he can run the offense at a very high level. With Mack at the helm, an Atlanta offense that has looked stagnant and lost during their losing streak entering the game and woke up to become a force to be reckoned against the Pistons.
In the last seven games entering the contest, the Hawks only managed to reach the 100-point mark once. Injuries certainly played a major role in the lack of scoring, but Teague has also not been playing too well of late. He’s been struggling to get into any kind of rhythm shooting the basketball and it’s really hurting Atlanta’s chances of winning games. I’m not saying Bud should consider benching him, but with Mack running the show last night, the Hawks reached 107 points.
Even though Atlanta didn’t win the game, Mack’s performance is something to rave about. His effort almost led the Hawks to a much-needed win to end the losing streak, but without some key big men such as Antic and Ayon, an undersized Atlanta lineup had no chance against a bigger Detroit team.
As a fill-in starter, Mack finished the game with a career-high 21 points and dished out six assists in the loss. He also went an impressive 8-for-16 from the field, which included hitting a couple of three-pointers. His effort fell just short in the end, but if this is the kind of performance he can turn in with an increased role, coach Bud may want to consider using him a lot more. Mack is having a great season and may just be starting to get things going in only his third year in the league.