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Pistons vs Hawks preview: Potential payback perpetuates playoff push

Detroit looks to head into the All-Star break with a revenge win

Atlanta Hawks v Detroit Pistons Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images

What went wrong in Atlanta Sunday?

The defense was bad - giving up 118 points to Atlanta is collectively inexcusable. Giving up 23 points to Ersan Ilyasova, 20 points to Dewayne Dedmon, and 10 points to both of Malcolm Delaney and Tyler Dorsey, on the other hand, is individually inexcusable.

The offense was bad - Blake Griffin shot ten threes and was 1-8 before making two threes in the last 45 seconds, Ish Smith played perhaps his worst game in a Piston uniform (1-4 from the floor, seven assists nearly countered by five turnovers), and Reggie Bullock was roundly ignored in the second half after going off for 18 points in the first half.

That’s both phases of the game. That’s how you lose to a bottom-feeder team in the league.

Game Vitals:

When: Wednesday, Feb 14, 7:00 p.m.
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, MI
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit, NBA League Pass
Odds: Detroit -8.0


How do you prevent another loss to Atlanta?

After the game, on the Detroit Bad Boys podcast, I called for Stan Van Gundy to rein in the hard show on the PNR. Clearly, because that clip is from the New Orleans game, Stan did not listen to the podcast and take my advice, as is his right. But that’s one thing worth trying.

Another thing that would help the Pistons is getting Blake the ball on the move more often. Yes, Blake was brought in to be an offensive hub, but letting the defense gird itself against his isolations doesn’t help him or help the other guys on the court.

Moving him around a bit, or getting him the ball on the move, is a remedy that the Pistons flashed some of already. More of this is needed - and a really easy way to facilitate it is during the minutes Blake plays as the center.

I don’t love extending these minutes out a ton - I’ve also been an advocate for partial non-Blake non-Andre minutes, but there’s no denying how good the Pistons are when Blake is surrounded by spacing.

Last point: Andre Drummond is averaging 17-19-2-2-2 since he and Blake started playing together, and that he put up a quiet 25-15-2-3-1 the last time they played the Hawks. We complain about the losses, but Andre is having a MONSTER year, and that’s good for the short- and long-term health of the Detroit Pistons.

Also, shout out to DBB commentator extraordinaire CrossEyed, who pointed out the Hawks are trying not to screw up the tank tonight:

That just pushes this game farther into “The Pistons BETTER win” territory.


The Pistons win, but make us watch the whole game because nothing in life is easy.

Detroit 110, Atlanta 102