The game started with an eyebrow-raiser, as Mo Cheeks decided to change up the starting lineup with Kyle Singler starting in the place of Josh Smith. The game started off much better than Wednesday's game against the Hawks, with the Pistons playing competent basketball to jump out to an 11-4 lead.
DeMarre Carroll was huge down the stretch. After Rodney Stuckey pulled the Pistons ahead with under four minutes to go, Carroll scored falling down off an offensive rebound to put the Hawks back in front while getting fouled. He missed the free throw, got his own rebound, then got the ball to Al Horford, who drew a foul. After a Stuckey miss, Carroll hit a three to give the Hawks a five point lead that the Pistons couldn't close.
Singler made the most of his starting opportunity with 22 points on only 13 shots. Smith, on the other hand, responded...poorly. Zero points on seven shots and a couple of turnovers - though he did pull down 7 rebounds (all defensive) and blocked three shots. Overall, he responded to the benching by sleepwalking through the game and wound up playing 20 completely ineffective minutes.
Those two outcomes combine for an interesting next move for Cheeks.
Brandon Jennings came out looking to pass in the first half, finishing with only 2 points (on 1 of 5 shooting) but 9 assists and no turnovers. He fell apart in the second half though, with 6 points on 9 shots, 5 assists and 5 turnovers.
Josh Harrellson deserves note for a very nice 11 minutes with 7 points and 5 rebounds. He hit every shot he took and was a stout presence.
It was an even effort for the Hawks, as all five starters ended up with double figures.
The Pistons have played worse in losses this year. Just the same, they fall to 4-8 with their next game against the Nets in Brooklyn on Sunday.