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High-flying Hawks aim to run past Pistons

The Hawks haven't looked this good in a long, long time.

The limping but well-rested Atlanta Hawks, losers of their last three games, are at the Palace this evening for the second part of a Piston road-home two-in-two. With the Pistons having won their last three games, these two teams are seemingly headed in opposite directions. Let's hope some Delfino and Maxiell trump tired legs.

Who to watch? Joe Johnson is the main reason why the Hawks are still .500 despite their recent losing streak. His 28 ppg puts him fifth in the league. Were he to somehow maintain that average throughout the season, it would be the highest per-game average for a Hawk since 'Nique averaged 29.9 back in '92-93.

Aside from Johnson, the Hawks can show some nice balance on O, with Zaza, Tyrone Lue, and Josh Smith all averaging double digits.

Injuries: Josh Childress (also in double digits) is not expected to play tonight. Marvin Williams and Speedy Claxton will also miss tonight's game for the Hawks.

Avenge Grant.Subplots: Former Pistons Assistant-Coach Mike Woodson is in his third season as head of the Hawks, and he loves his team.

Also, those of you who were fans of the Grant Hill-era Pistons will remember two painful opening-round playoff losses to the Hawks in '96-97 and the strike-shortened '98-99 season. Grant wouldn't come any closer to the second round as a Piston than he did in those two 3-2 series losses. I blame the teal (see right).

Oh, and since I'm back in town for the holidays, Matt and I will be attending the game with the respective Misses. Hopefully we'll snag some pictures, but at the very least my streaking during the third quarter should make a great video Christmas card. Set your Tivos now!

Despite my disbelief, Hawks are playoff contenders [MLive]