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Pistons vs. Hawks preview: Chance to end losing streak with In-Season Tourney play

The Pistons are looking to avoid extending their losing streak to 9 games.

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Atlanta Hawks Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

This is one of the few “winnable” games the Pistons have on their schedule until after Thanksgiving. And that is not to discredit the Hawks, as they are clearly a better team, but they just aren’t up with the likes of Milwaukee, Philadelphia, or Golden State.

With the way the Pistons are currently playing, it would be a bit of a stretch to call a game against the Motor City Cruise “winnable.”

The Pistons are getting a little healthier as they saw the return of Alec Burks and Jaden Ivey in Sunday’s loss to the Chicago Bulls and now face an Atlanta team that has been pretty good offensively this season.

Game Vitals

Where: Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, MI
When: Tuesday, November 14 at 7 pm EST
Watch: You don’t have to put yourself through this, but you can on Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Atlanta (-5.5)

Analysis

Cade Cunningham has hit a bit of a rough stretch lately as the burden of carrying the entire offensive load is clearly getting to him. Luckily, a matchup against Trae Young could be exactly what the doctor ordered. The Hawks likely use DeJounte Murray to defend him, but he won’t have to deal with as much pressure if Trae Young is helping him out.

The Hawks make their money on the offensive end, and they don’t really have any defenders outside of Murray that the Pistons should be worried about.

The Pistons will be welcoming back old friend Saddiq Bey for the first time in Detroit since last season’s deadline deal for James Wiseman. He has become a valuable member for the Hawks off the bench playing a role more in line with what he did with the Pistons as a rookie where he shot the ball from beyond the arc and didn’t try to do too much self-creation. Amazing what happens when you have a better team and ask a player to play a certain role.

Another player to watch out for is Jalen Johnson, who is having a big of a breakout season for the Hawks. He has become a starter for them and may be in the Most Improved player conversation more if it weren’t for that award already being locked up by Tyrese Maxey in Philadelphia.

The Pistons have reached the point in the season where they should consider changing something up. When you are starting a lineup intending to shut people down defensively, but they aren’t even doing that, it is time to do something different.

The roster is getting healthier, so there isn’t an excuse for continuing to bang your head against the same wall with the same starting lineup. The Pistons starters could actually look semi-competent offensively against the Hawks, but it doesn’t mean that things should keep going how they are. This is a favorable matchup for Cade Cunnigham, but he currently leads the NBA in minutes played and you can clearly see it with his shooting numbers.

He needs help and that isn’t coming with the current starters. I am not even sure who you remove from the lineup at this point to provide that help. Killian Hayes has been playing well the last few games and Ausar Thompson’s defense is going to be needed if you opt to go with somebody who is more of a liability on defense to improve the offense.

But that isn’t my job to figure out, it is the job of the highest-paid coach in the NBA.

The Pistons have played the Hawks pretty tough the last couple years, even if they don’t have a ton of wins to show for it. They matchup well and shouldn’t be getting too much pressure from the Hawks’ defense. Maybe this will be the game where this losing streak comes to an end.

Lineups

Detroit Pistons (2-9): Cade Cunnigham, Killian Hayes, Ausar Thompson, Isaiah Stewart, Marvin Bagley

Atlanta Hawks (5-4): Trae Young, DeJounte Murray, DeAndre Hunter, Jalen Johnson, Clint Capela

Question of the Day

When do you think the Pistons will end their losing streak?