The Pistons make their first appearance in front of the whole nation on ESPN today (not including NBATV games) as two of arguably the hottest teams in the league square off. The Hawks have won 12 straight while the Pistons are just biding their time before striking for that inevitable championship come June. The Pistons are on a franchise-best seven-game road winning streak.
Where: Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA
When: 2:30PM EST, Monday, Jan. 19, 2015
Exceptionally Detailed Analysis
As the Pistons are in Atlanta, Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe stopped by the GameTime studios to discuss a wide array of issues, such as post playmaking, offensive rebounding, and coach imitating. For those that missed it, here is the video.
The Pistons enter the contest on the back of a comfortable 107-89 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. The team avenged an embarrassing loss back in December to the then one-win Sixers, with Kyle Singler taking the turn to be the hot hand, finishing with 20 points including a career-high 6 triples and this incredible hustle play at the end of the third quarter.
Andre Drummond had a quiet game and yet still finished with 15 rebounds. Brandon Jennings had a poor game after a hot start, finishing with 10 points. Greg Monroe had another double double with 12 and 13. Anthony Tolliver continued his inspired play off the bench, including 16 points and several frightened children watching on TV at home.
Atlanta won their 12th straight on Saturday, defeating the Bulls in Chicago, 107-99. Kyle Korver tormented his former team, finishing with 24 points (all 7 FGs were threes), while Al Horford added 22 and 9 rebounds. Jeff Teague chipped in with 17 and 11 assists, and Paul Millsap contributed a 16 points. The Hawks have a genuine chance to match the Goin' To Work Pistons from 2004-05 and have 4 teammates in the All-Star game. Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace and Ben Wallace did it for the Pistons (all coming off the bench, mind you, and actually playing defense -- the nerve of some people) while Jeff Teague, Al Horford, Paul Millsap and even Kyle Korver have genuine shots at being named.
Last Time We Met
Jan. 9, 2015, Atlanta won 106-103
Game No. 8 of the PSE/Tolliverse/Singularity, and the Pistons were finally halted by a red-hot Atlanta team. Were it not for a late Kentavious Caldwell-Pope run which sent the 18,859 strong crowd into a rabid frenzy, the Hawks would have won by double digits, and quite deservedly. Their ball movement killed us all day, and our improved defense had no answer (bar two awesome Tolliver blocks). Some unorthodox Pistons led that night, with KCP scoring 20 and Singler adding 16. Tolliver came off the bench and added 15 while Greg Monroe had yet another double double with 15 and 12 rebounds. Al Horford led the Hawks with a mammoth 19 and 16 boards.
Players To Watch
I just feel like it's his turn to carry us to a victory, and seeing as he'll want to show up on the national stage with a repeat performance from last time vs ATL in his hometown. With Jennings, Monroe, Drummond and now even Singler and Tolliver putting in game-winning shifts, it's KCP's turn.
Hawks: Jeff Teague, Al Horford, Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver
Can't really say much more here.
-- Pistons F Cartier Martin played for Atlanta during the 2013-14 season
-- Pistons G Jodie Meeks and Hawks F Elton Brand played together in Philadelphia from 2010-12
-- Pistons F Anthony Tolliver played for Atlanta in 2012-13
-- Hawks C Al Horford went to high school in Grand Ledge, MI
-- Hawks F Adreian Payne played collegiately for Michigan State from 2010-14
-- Pistons F Caron Butler and Hawks G Thabo Sefolosha played for Oklahoma City together in 2013-14
-- Dunkin' Darvin Ham currently serves as an assistant coach for the Atlanta Hawks
-- Pistons G Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Thomaston) and Jodie Meeks (Norcross) are both from Georgia
-- Pistons G Cartier Martin and Hawks G Shelvin Mack played for Washington from 2011-13
-- Pistons G Jodie Meeks and Hawks G Kent "Bench Swag" Bazemore played for LA Lakers in 2013-14
I am not so naive to predict an easy victory here, so it'll have to be a tough victory.
Pistons 107, Hawks 106
Pistons: Jennings, Caldwell-Pope, Singler, Monroe, Drummond
Hawks: Teague, Korver, Carroll, Millsap, Horford
Hawks: Mack (calf)
Will the Pistons give a good account of themselves on national television?
For an enemy perspective, please visit Peachtree Hoops.