The Hawks entered Wednesday's game against the Pistons with 26 losses. That's most likely more than Detroit will finish the entire year with, so you had to figure that Wednesday's game could get a little ugly. Well, it did, as the Pistons unloaded on Atlanta for a 28-point victory. Luckily, Detroit only had two starters play at least 30 minutes, and no one played more than 35 (which should keep the team fresh for tonight's game in New York).
The Pistons let Atlanta take a 19-18 lead into the second quarter before simply exploding for 41 more points to take a 19-point lead into halftime. They technically played two more quarters, but in all honesty the game was already over. After the game, Flip Saunders admitted to using much of the night as a chance to practice some old plays the team hasn't used in a while:
"We ran some things we hadn't run in a while, just to dust them off a little bit and do them in a game-type situation," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said.
That's right folks, this wasn't really a game, but rather a "game-type situation" -- almost like the real thing, but only much, much easier.
Ben Wallace had just four points but was otherwise outstanding with 18 boards and six blocks. Chauncey Billups had just four assists but led the team with 23 points, including four of seven from beyond the arc. I can't wait to see Mr. Big Shot in the Three-Point Shootout in February (his All-Star berth is already locked up, right?) -- when he gets on a roll, it feels like every single shot is going to go in.
Speaking of players on a roll, Carlos Delfino drained 2-of-3 three-pointers and is 5-of-7 the past two games. It took him a while to find his stroke, but he definitely has it. He filled up his box score with 11 points, three boards, two assists, one steal and two blocks in 21 minutes. Mo Evans had it going on, too, scoring 14 in 22 minutes with one rebound and a couple of assists.
But Flip Saunders didn't settle on using just the regular subs, he dug deep into his bench and found seven minutes apiece for Dale Davis and Jason Maxiell, not to mention three for Darko Milicic. Maxiell shot 2-3 from the field but managed to get to the line twice (shooting 1-3) to finish with five points. He looks undersized and top heavy, but that kid can jump and loves to dunk. Does anyone else look at him and think "Clarence Weatherspoon?"I lost track of 'Spoon and had to check, but in case you're interested it appears he's in the midst of his first year of retirement.
As for the Hawks, they're. . . well, young, I guess. That's about the only nice thing I can say. Al Harrington finished with decent numbers (21 points, 10 boards), which is kind of surprising since I didn't really notice him all that much during the game. It was kind of difficult to pay attention when they had the ball -- they shot just 34% from the field and never provided much excitement. It's not hard to figure out why they've already lost 26 games.