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Pistons vs. Hawks preview: A playoff preview?

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The scorching Detroit Pistons host the Atlanta Hawks on Friday. Can the Pistons end another six-game winning streak and extend theirs to eight?

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Pistons just won both games on the Texas Two-Step to extend their winning streak to seven games. They now face the Atlanta Hawks who come in sporting their own six-game winning streak. Will the streak reach eight?

Game Vitals

Where: The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, MI

When: 7:30 p.m ET, Friday, Jan. 9th, 2015

Watch: Fox Sports Detroit

Pre-Game Analysis

On Wednesday the Detroit Pistons beat the Dallas Mavericks 108-95 to extend their win streak to seven games, completing the Texas Two-Step undefeated. Both teams came in sporting a six-game winning streak. Though the two-step looks like this, it more so felt like this. Next up are the Atlanta Hawks who come to The Palace on their own six-game winning streak.

Detroit lead from opening tip to closing horn against the Mavericks, leading by as many as 17. The Pistons won every quarter except for the second quarter and scored 30 or more in two quarters. Andre Drummond only played three quarters but was still able to grab 19 rebounds. Greg Monroe stepped up to the plate and had a breakout game to the tune of 27 points, 18 rebounds, and six assists. And with Brandon Jennings having his second consecutive off game, D.J. Augustin stepped up off the bench to the tune of 26 points on 9-for-16 shooting (4-for-5 from long distance).

Though the Pistons won by 13, their sixth double-digit win during the streak, their margin of victory during the streak is now only...15.0! That still leads all teams over the last seven games, two more than the Golden State Warriors. Take a look at this. Over the last seven games for all teams, the Pistons are:

  • Number One
    • Margin of Victory
    • Net Rating
  • Top Five
    • Field Goal Percentage
    • Three Point Percentage
    • Rebounds
    • Steals
    • Points
    • Offensive Rating
    • Defensive Rating
    • True Shooting Percentage
    • Effective Field Goal Percentage
    • Opponent Three Point Percentage
    • Opponent Points
  • Top Ten
    • Turnovers
    • Opponent Field Goal Percentage
    • Opponent Turnovers
    • Opponent Steals
    • Opponent Blocks

But the Hawks are not a bad team either. They come to The Palace as the top dog in the Eastern Conference, a whole two and a half games over the Toronto Raptors and Chicago Bulls. In their last six they have beaten the Milwaukee Bucks (a night after losing to them by 30), the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Utah Jazz, the Portland Trailblazers, the Los Angeles Clippers and the Memphis Grizzlies. Their margin of victory during the streak has been 7.7.

However, you cannot just look at their last six games. Honestly, you have to look at the fact that they have only lost two games since Thanksgiving. I will say, both of those games they probably should not have lost as they were to the Bucks and Orlando Magic (by one point). This team is deadly, and the Pistons better be on the top of their game.

Players To Watch

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

This is not for offensive reasons, but for defense. See below.

Kyle Korver

Yes, the Pistons are fourth in opponent three point percentage over the last seven games. But you cannot leave Kyle Korver open. This year he is shooting an astounding 51-percent from deep on nearly six attempts per game. And no, this is not a fluke season. He shot 53.6-percent (granted, on only 2.1 attempts per game) in 2009-10 with the Jazz but he has never had a lower three point percentage than 35.2-percent. I repeat, you cannot leave him open!

Last Time We Met

November 21st, 2014 - Hawks won 99-89.

In another return trip to Hot-lanta for Josh Smith, the Pistons lost by 10 after staying even with the Hawks in the second half. Smith finished the game 8-for-19 (missed his only three pointer) for 16 points to go along with eight rebounds and five assists. Greg Monroe, only playing 21 minutes, was 4-for-7 for 10 points with eight rebounds. Andre Drummond had another double-double grabbing 16 boards on a tough shooting night going 5-for-12 for 13 points. The Hawks had all of their starters in double figures. Jeff Teague lead the Hawks in points with 28 to go with two triples, four rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks.

Score Prediction

I am honestly concerned about this game. With the Hawks being 20-2 since Thanksgiving, they seem just as unstoppable as we have been lately. However, someone has to lose. LET IT BE THE HAWKS!

Pistons 102, Hawks 95

Lineup Prediction

Pistons: Jennings, Caldwell-Pope, Singler, Monroe, Drummond

Hawks: Teague, Korver, Carroll, Millsap, Horford

Injuries

Pistons: None

Hawks: None

Community Question: With the Pistons surging towards a possible playoff spot, likely the 7th or 8th seed, could this be the preview of the first round of the playoffs?