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Pistons vs Hawks preview: Detroit looks to get above .500 against Atlanta

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The Pistons must continue to take care of teams below them in the standings

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Atlanta Hawks Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

After a “bleh” effort and scoring output Friday in Charlotte, the Detroit Pistons, finished with their two-game road trip, come home for the holidays to face the Atlanta Hawks and the Washington Wizards. Both Atlanta and Washington are below Detroit in the East - and the Pistons should take both of those games to solidify their position in the conference, starting with Atlanta.

Game Vitals:

When: December 23, 4 p.m. EST
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, MI
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit, NBA League Pass

Analysis:

The Hawks are a team with a bad record (8-23), but a feisty disposition. Led by inefficient rookie sensation Trae Young and the unceasing ball of energy that is John Collins, the Hawks play young (average age of the roster is a bottom-of-the-league 24.3 if you remove 42-year-old Vince Carter), dumb (a league-low turnover percentage of 17.5, a full percentage point higher than Phoenix’s second-lowest turnover percentage of 16.1) and FAST (Atlanta leads the league in Pace, a possession-per-game ahead of the Sacramento Kings). The Hawks also are fourth in the league in threes attempted, despite being 28th in three-point percentage - if they get hot from three, they have the potential to outgun any team on any night.

However, the inverse of that is also true - the Hawks have not won a game this year where they made nine or fewer three-pointers. The Pistons are still, somehow, 11th in the league in DRTG and second in the league in opponent field goal percentage from 24+ feet. If Detroit can limit Atlanta from the three-point line, they stand a great chance of winning this game.

The last time they played the Hawks, the Pistons put together five minutes of perfect basketball and used that early lead to snowball the game in their favor. The Hawks defense is still bottom-of-the-league bad. The new-look starting lineup has been able to put up good numbers offensively. Detroit needs the new starters to begin this game quickly and bury Atlanta offensively, and regain some of the fluidity displayed when the group were first put on the floor together.

Also, not-so-subtly, Detroit really needs this win. Atlanta should be an “easy” win, but the schedule as a whole is not easing up any time soon:

If it were easy, every team could do it.

Projected Lineups:

Detroit Pistons (15-15):
Reggie Jackson, Luke Kennard, Reggie Bullock, Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond

Atlanta Hawks (8-23):
Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, Kent Bazemore, John Collins, Dewayne Dedmon

Prediction:

Pistons 119, Hawks 107. Ed Stefanski attempts to persuade Travis Schlenk to just, kinda, leave Jeremy Lin and Dewayne Dedmon in Detroit.

Community Question:

After this afternoon, Detroit won’t play again until after Christmas - whatever will y’all do in between now and then?