Can't Knock The Hawks: Hawks 112 Pistons 99

Let's look at the positives. This could have been a whole lot worse. The Hawks led by an astounding 28 points at the half, and the Pistons did manage to cut it to nine in the 4th quarter before an 11-4 run turned the game into a blowout yet again.

Not only that, but Jason Maxiell registered his third consecutive double-double. Hopefully, this proves once and for all that the guy deserves serious minutes. You especially have to appreciate the 7-9 performance from the free throw line. If the Pistons are going to move back into contention in the next couple of years, they are going to have to find a way to get more 19 and 12s out of Maxiell.

Oh, and Will Bynum continued to make the case that maybe he should start at the point with 16 points and 7 assists. But if Stuckey's a sixth man, what does that make Ben Gordon.

Outside of that, it was sheer misery...

Let's start with the fact that the Hawks shot 63% from the field, including 50% from beyond the arc. I would hazard to guess that this ranks among the top 10-15 single game true shooting performances for any team this season.

It doesn't hurt that Josh Smith was able to deliver 11 dimes (!) with just one turnover. He also added five steals and 18 points on 8-14 shooting. Why wasn't this guy an all-star again?

Jonas Jerebko had a lousy night. Nine points an nine rebounds off of 12 shots in 32 minutes isn't going to get it done. And the free agents did nothing to assuage us of the worry that they might be money poorly spent.

But, really, you can't win games when you go down 28-7. During one stretch in the first quarter, the Pistons only managed four SHOTS in a scoreless 4:30. Detroit was simply overmatched against a team against which we were salivating for an Eastern Conference finals matchup just two years ago.

Elsewhere in the NBA...

As expected, Dallas' 13 game win streak came to an end in a 34 point home loss to the Knicks. Obviously, they got owned by Toney Douglas and Bill Walker, who combined to shoot 9-12 from behind the arc... Wait, what? I mean, the win streak was illusory, but was the ghost of Hank Gathers in the building or something?

And, really, Mavs fans should be a bit worried that Rodrigue Beaubois is carrying the load on offense. Beaubois sounds like the name of a gay graffiti artist.

In Memphis, JR Smith had another one of his "I'm just going to go ahead and hit everything I throw at the basket" nights. What is the record for the number of times a guy has hit six three pointers in a game? He's done it 21 times, and he's only 24. His team is 20-1 when he does so.

Also, if present standings hold, Denver's route to the finals goes through Phoenix and Dallas with home court advantage, with the Lakers playing Utah in round two. If they lose their division, they could be looking at San Antonio and then Utah without home court advantage. I don't think any team has more to play for over the next few weeks.

Also, for the record, the hoops-poops rhyme was not my idea.

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