ATLANTA - Blake Griffin has struggled shooting from the field for the Detroit Pistons.
And those struggles continued Sunday afternoon.
Griffin was 7-for-21 in a crushing 118-115 loss to the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena.
The Pistons can’t afford losses to the league’s bottom feeders, and the loss drops them two games behind the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
It’s the second straight loss since the Pistons’ five-game winning streak that was fueled by the acquisition of Griffin from the Los Angeles Clippers on Jan. 29.
Even when the Pistons were successful, Griffin hasn’t shot well.
In the five games before Sunday, Griffin shot 41.1 percent from the field.
Griffin got free for a bucket to give the Pistons a 103-100 lead with 4:14 remaining.
But after he made two free throws to make it 105-102, he committed a turnover that fueled a Hawks fastbreak layup to cut the Pistons' lead to one.
Center Dewayne Dedmon’s 3-point play and 3-pointer on consecutive possessions gave the Hawks a 112-107 lead with 56 seconds remaing.
Pistons forward Stanley Johnson reacts after he's called for a foul in the first half against the Hawks on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018, in Atlanta. Todd Kirkland, AP
Griffin finished with 23 points and added six assists.
Andre Drummond led the Pistons (27-28) with 25 points, 15 rebounds and three blocked shots, and Reggie Bullock scored 20 points.
Dennis Schroder led the Hawks with 23 points and seven assists.
Dedmon scored 20 points and ex-Piston Ersan Ilyasova scored 19 points for the Hawks (18-39).
Reggie goes to work
The Pistons trailed for most of the first half with the Hawks enjoying a nine-point lead at one point in the second quarter.
The Hawks' lead was 53-46 when Bullock took over with 1:41 remaining.
Bullock got things started with a 3-point to cut the deficit to four.
A Bullock 14-footer cut the deficit to two.
A Schroder bucket pushed the Hawks lead' back to 55-51.
But Bullock scored a 3-pointer and a layup to finish off the 10-2 run to give the Pistons a 56-55 lead at halftime.
He scored 18 points in the first half.
Blake Griffin after a 7-for-21 shooting night against the Hawks in a 118-115 loss on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018 in Atlanta. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press
The newest members of the Pistons, acquired before Thursday’s trade deadline, made their debuts.
James Ennis and Jameer Nelson both entered the game at the 2:03 mark of the first quarter.
The game marked a return to a 10-man rotation for the Pistons.
In the previous four games, Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy used eight players while games remained competitive.
Ennis finished with 14 points and four rebounds in 23 minutes, and Nelson contributed six points and five assists in 18 minutes.
Stanley Johnson started the game with energy and scored a 3-pointer early.
But he picked up his second foul when he attempted a chase-down block on Ilyasova. He instantly ran to the bench in disbelief over the call.
He picked up two quick fouls in the second half and was limited to 19 minutes for the game.
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