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Pistons vs. Hawks preview: First round matchup?

The Detroit Pistons take on the Atlanta Hawks at The Palace of Auburn Hills on Tuesday night. Is this a preview of the first round?

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Game Vitals

Where: Palace of Auburn Hills

When: Tuesday, March 31, 2015 @ 7:30 PM

Watch: Fox Sports Detroit

Listen: 105.1 FM

Pregame Analysis

I am ever the optimist. I still believe the Pistons have the easiest schedule remaining of those fighting for the 8th seed of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Sadly, a loss on Sunday to the Miami Heat did not help their chances as they are now 4.5 games back with only nine games to play. However, if a miracle were to happen, this would be a preview of the first round matchup between the Hawks and the Pistons.

You cannot really count the previous three contests as previews as they were all different teams. The first game featured Josh Smith on the Pistons. Woof! The next two games were during the Pistons resurgence, but Atlanta took both of those (one only by three points). They also had Brandon Jennings for those games. This game will feature five new Pistons (Reggie Jackson, Tayshaun Prince, John Lucas III, Shawne Williams and Quincy Miller). The Pistons, as of recently, are also without Greg Monroe (which if I must say, for a knee strain, is taking quite a while to recover from for someone who's never had injury issues).

Now while the Hawks were nice enough to rest their starters for their game against Charlotte this weekend, it is not certain they will be as kind to the Pistons. They played last night, so you would think they should. However, they do have a few things to consider. In last night's game, Dennis Schroder injured his toe and will not play. Also, the Hawks have a chance at matching their franchise record in wins this evening. And lastly, if they do consider the Pistons a threat to make it to the eighth seed, it would be in their best interest to 1) stop that from happening and 2) humiliate the Pistons so that if they were to face the Hawks, all confidence is lost.

The Pistons have not lost four games to the Hawks in one season since 1993-94, just over 20 years ago. I would love to see the Pistons keep that in tact.

As stated, Atlanta played last night beating the Bucks by 13. And though it may not be Reggie Miller's 8 points in 9 seconds, Kyle Korver showed just how dangerous he is by scoring 11 points (looked like 12 to me) in 65 seconds.

If any player rests for Atlanta, I hope it's him. If that man had just an ounce more athleticism, he'd be a superstar. I still wonder why he only shoots eight (!) field goal attempts a game. (Mind you, in the above clip, those were the only four shots he made - out of 10 - the entire game.)

As for the Pistons, they lost to Dwyane Wade's younger self and the Miami Heat on Sunday. In that game, Andre Drummond scored a career high 32 points while also grabbing 14 rebounds. Reggie Jackson also set a career high for points by putting in 31 points to go with nine assists, six rebounds and four turnovers.

Players to Watch

Pistons: Reggie Jackson

Basically, can he keep up this play. If he can, Detroit may have a shot to win this game.

Hawks: Kyle Korver

I hope we're watching him on the bench, but if not, he can simply light up the Pistons. That will not bode well if Detroit wants to win.

Last Time We Met

January 19th, 2015 - Hawks 93, Pistons 82

In what was the Pistons worst loss to the Hawks this season, the Pistons were only down four with 7:24 to go. Andre had 13 points to go with 18 rebounds and Monroe was even better with 16 points and 20 rebounds. The did not do so well on defense as the Hawks were lead by Paul Millsap and Mike Scott who each had 20 points a piece (Scott's in only 21 minutes). The difference in the game though was ball movement as the Hawks had 31 assists opposite the Pistons 17 assists.


Pistons 94 - Hawks 92


Pistons: Monroe (knee)

Hawks: Schroder (toe)

Startin Lineup

Pistons: Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Caron Butler, Anthony Tolliver, Drummond

Hawks: Jeff Teague, Korver, DeMarre Carroll, Millsap, Al Horford

Community Question

If the Pistons win this game with the Hawks playing their starters, does that change your opinion (positively or negatively) on the chances of the Pistons getting into the playoffs?