Hawks vs. Pistons Game Preview

Joshua Broom —  December 23, 2015

Atlanta will look to extend its winning streak to five when they face the Detroit Pistons from Philips Arena on Wednesday. The Hawks reeled off a season-best seven consecutive victories after being soundly defeated by the Pistons, 106-94, on opening night.

In that contest the Hawks’ starters were dominated by Detroit’s. The Piston’s starting five posted 88 points to Atlanta’s 59. Former UGA standout Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led all scorers with 21. Andre Drummond was unstoppable down low, grabbing 19 rebounds while posting 18 points.

Detroit, (17-12) is currently the Eastern Conference’s sixth best team and in the midst of a 3-game winning streak. Detroit rallied from 18 down last night to defeat Miami 93-92.

Meanwhile, the Hawks have gone from ninth to third place in the Eastern Conference standings over the past seven days. At 18-12, Atlanta is one of only three teams in their conference to currently sport 18 victories.

Much of the Hawks’ recent success can be attributed to the stellar play of Dennis Schröder. The third-year man has averaged 15 points, 4.5 assists and two steals during Atlanta’s streak. More importantly, Schröder’s shooting line of 55/53/81 during that time has the 22-year old as Atlanta’s current leader in productivity.

The Pistons are led by the dynamic duo of Drummond and Reggie Jackson. Jackson is the reigning Eastern Conference Player of The Week, while averaging 20.4 points and 6.4 assists on the season.

Injuries and starting lineups

For the Hawks, the only injury of note is a slight tweak to Paul Millsap’s ankle. Millsap suffered this injury during Atlanta’s win vs. Portland, however he is fully expected to play tonight vs. Detroit.

The Pistons will be without Brandon Jennings, who is still recovering from an Achilles injury that has sidelined him all season.

Atlanta Hawks probable starting lineup

  • Point Guard: Jeff Teague
  • Shooting Guard: Kyle Korver
  • Small Forward: Kent Bazemore
  • Power Forward: Paul Millsap
  • Center: Al Horford

Detroit Pistons probable starting lineup

  • Point Guard: Reggie Jackson
  • Shooting Guard: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
  • Small Forward: Marcus Morris
  • Power Forward: Ersan Ilysasova
  • Center: Andre Drummond

Keys to victory for Atlanta

-Cutting and ball movement. Detroit is stingy when it comes to allowing made 3-pointers. The Pistons are fourth-best in the league at protecting the 3-point line, only yielding seven per contest. Furthermore, Atlanta has had optimal success when not relying on made threes to win the day.

The Hawks are top-ten in 3-pointers attempted, but only 18th in total percentage. Atlanta ranks third overall in assists per contest. The lion’s share of these assists come from fluid offensive movement, featuring strong cuts to the rim. Given the numbers, the Hawks are best served to stick to what they do best vs. Detroit.

-Contain Andre Drummond. Much easier said than done right? Thus far, the 3rd-year man has had a monster season, leading the league in rebounding at 16.2 per game. As aforementioned, Drummond dominated Atlanta on the glass with 19 rebounds in the teams’ first encounter of the season. The Pistons out-rebounded the Hawks 59-40 in that contest.

Ranked next-to-last in rebounds per game, Atlanta will need to duplicate their physical brand of play, used in defeating Boston, against Detroit tonight.

-Watch that foul! In the opening contest of the season between these teams, the Pistons went to the line 11 more times than Atlanta, making eight more free-throws, in a 12 point win.

If the Hawks are to win five straight, playing intense defense without fouling will be key.

Odds and ends

Kyle Korver needs just one made 3-point basket to tie former All-Star Rashard Lewis for ninth all-time in league history. Kent Bazemore had 0 points and a game-high four turnovers in Atlanta’s first meeting of the season opposite Detroit. Emerging star Andre Drummond has a league-best 25 double-doubles.

Atlanta vs Detroit will air live tonight, regionally on Fox Sports Southeast at 8 PM ET.




Joshua Broom