Detroit makes the short flight to Atlanta from Orlando in time for their second game in two nights, the first time we will encounter such scheduling this season. Atlanta, by contrast, have not played since Thursday, so that extra rest will leave them invigorated.
Where: Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA
When: 7:30 Pm E.T. Saturday, October 18, 2014
Watch: Not televised. On radio, 105.1 FM as usual.
Exceptionally Detailed Analysis
From what I read on the GameThread vs the Magic, the Pistons played a very unwatchable brand of basketball. Greg Monroe led the team with 24 points and 10 rebounds while D.J. Augustin added 21 off the bench in 24 minutes, to go with as many rebounds as he has feet on his NBA listed height. A positive for the Pistons was the free throw shooting, with Augustin (6-7), Brandon Jennings (7-8) and Monroe (4-5) all making it count at the line. However, both Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings had horrible shooting games, going a combined 2-13, although Smith did lead the team in assists with seven. While Jennings has been struggling with his shot, maybe he can get back into a rhythm by making foul shots. He did go 1-6 against Orlando (1-5 from 3), but did have 7 FT for 10 points, and maybe he just needs to see the ball go through the hoop once. Andre Drummond had a very lackluster game, finishing with 11 points, 7 rebounds, 5 blocks, and 5 TO. Josh Smith was burned defensively at SF, as Tobias Harris provided more of a challenge than Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
Atlanta comes into the game on the back of an 85-84 loss to the Bulls, with Jimmy Butler hitting the game-winning 3 for the Bulls as time ran out. Mike Scott was the top scorer with 15 while German sophomore PG Dennis Schroeder added 11. The Hawks have an interesting team. Their primary starting lineup has a lot of offense with Al Horford, Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver and Paul Millsap, but they have a weird bench. They have Michigan State standout Adreian Payne as a rookie PF, overpaid energy defender Thabo Sefolosha, and classic bench Youtube star Kent Bazemore. Nevertheless, the Hawks struggled from three in Chicago, going 7-27, Korver going 3-6 by himself (efficient as always). They were out-rebounded by four, and gave away 13 more personal fouls than Chicago. This game seems like a good one for Drumroe, as they can exploit Atlanta's weak interior defense.
Players To Watch
Pistons: D.J. Augustin
Augustin has really stepped up his game in the last two matchups, scoring a combined 37 points vs. Charlotte and Orlando. Whilst I still believe the starting spot is Jennings' to lose, this current form from Augustin has him really in contention. Also, he is showing a great scoring punch off the bench, something which is never too valuable in this league. He will probably get extended minutes again tonight, and can really push Jennings and force Van Gundy to make a decision, as Augustin has not only been scoring well, but also doing other things well. Against Charlotte, he had a lot of assists. Against Orlando he was pulling down rebounds. This all around play will really impress Van Gundy.
Hawks: Kyle Korver
The Pistons have notoriously weak perimeter defense, especially now that KCP is out for this game at least. He will be re-evaluated after this game when the team returns to Detroit, but for now, a makeshift SG will be likely defending Korver. Whether it's Martin or Singler, or even Butler (though far less likely), they'll have a terrible time trying to run with him off screens and closing him out. Even if he does start at SF, Josh Smith (if he plays there again) will further enforce the prevailing view on this site that we should trade him for a pack of Oreos and a glass of milk. Either way, look for Korver to at least get a lot of shots tonight.
I've usually picked the opposite lately, so I'm guessing a Hawks victory. The Pistons looked lethargic last night, so imagine tonight, especially because it's a back-to-back.
Hawks 103, Pistons 96
Can I just clarify, I'm writing this preview at 6:30 am E.T, so I have no indication of what the coach is thinking thanks to tweets from beat writers like Goodwill, Mayo, Ellis and Langlois. Therefore, this is pure guestimation.
Pistons: Jennings, Martin, Smith, Monroe, Drummond
Hawks: Schroeder, Korver, Carroll, Scott, Horford
Pistons: Meeks (back), Caldwell-Pope (knee), Dinwiddie (knee), Gray (heart), Anthony (probably hasn't met his teammates yet)
Hawks: Teague (injury of some sort), Millsap (see Teague)
Is D.J. Augustin's current form enough to earn him the starting spot over Brandon Jennings?