The end of pretend is here. The Detroit Pistons are 2-5 in the preseason and take on the 4-2 Atlanta Hawks tonight at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Come next Tuesday, both these teams face each other with 0-0 records to begin the regular season.
Reggie Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Ersan Ilyasova are all out tonight. Jackson and Ilyasova are likely resting and to see Steve Blake as the backup point guard and Marcus Morris next to Stanley Johnson. The starting lineup of Spencer Dinwiddie, Reggie Bullock, Johnson, Morris and Andre Drummond should be able to get up and down the floor with ease. Also, it arguably is the best defensive lineup the Pistons have.
This game also could allow the Pistons to start off their season right. There's a very good chance the Pistons could lose this game. The Hawks are the defending Eastern Conference champions (of the regular season). They are not a team to be quibbled with. However, if the Pistons are smart and take a lot of notes tonight, they could better their chances to start off the season with a win as they open their season in Atlanta.
The Hawks have a better record than the Pistons. They hold teams to 7.3 fewer points per contest. They rebound better. They shoot free throws better. However, the Pistons are the better shooting team (at least on the preseason) from everywhere else on the floor. The Hawks have a +/- of 3.8, the Pistons 3.7 (the only Eastern Conference team with a losing record but positive plus/minus). This should be a good contest.
Where: The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, MI
When: Friday, October 23rd, 2015 at 7:30 PM EST
Watch: There is once again a free stream available to people in the Fox Sports Detroit viewing area on Pistons.com
Players to Watch
Pistons: Steve Blake
Blake and Spencer Dinwiddie are the only point guards dressed for tonight. With Dinwiddie getting the start, how much of Blake's time will be backup and how much will be at off guard?
Hawks: Paul Millsap
Millsap is a player that can abuse the Pistons. He can be a beast down low and he can stroke it from deep. Will Marcus Morris or Anthony Tolliver be able to contain him, or will he go off?
Last Time We Met
March 31, 2015 - Pistons 105, Hawks 95
The Pistons finally got over the hump against the Hawks. With Greg Monroe out due to injury, Drummond went off for 22 points and 13 rebounds along with Jackson who scored 12 points and dished out 11 dimes. The Pistons shot 49.4 percent overall and 37.9 percent (on 29 attempts). The Hawks were lead in points by Thabo Sefolosha with 19 and in rebounds by Mike Muscala with 13. The Hawks split most of their time evenly, with all starters getting 23:44 and four backups getting 24:16. It was a game that meant nothing to the Hawks.
- Al Horford went to high school in Grand Ledge.
- Tim Hardaway Jr. is Pistons assistant coach Tim Hardaway's son and attended UofM.
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Jodie Meeks are both from Georgia.
- Cartier Martin used to...nevermind, he's no longer a Piston.
Pistons 96, Hawks 95
Pistons: Dinwiddie, Reggie Bullock, Stanley Johnson, Marcus Morris, Andre Drummond
Hawks: Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, Kent Bazemore, Paul Millsap, Al Horford
Pistons: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (sprained ankle), Reggie Jackson (out), Ersan Ilyasova (out)
Hawks: Thabo Sefolosha (ankle)
Can the Pistons use this game to get the season off to a good start?