- Teams: Atlanta Hawks (25-28) at Detroit Pistons (22-32)
- Date: February 21st, 2014
- Time: 7:30 p.m.
- Television: FSD
What to look for
The Pistons are 0-2 against the Hawks this season (they were supposed to have played three games together by now, but the bad Atlanta weather this winter caused a cancellation), both from very early in the season.
In both games, Hawks budding guard Jeff Teague played very well, making Brandon Jennings look rather foolish on defense. According to Keith Langlois, Teague (and fellow Hawk DeMarre Carroll) is a game-time decision tonight. Teague not playing would be a huge boost for the Pistons, but they shouldn’t bank on it. The Hawks are also missing rookie Pero Antic and star Al Horford to season ending injuries, so they’re just a shell of what they were when the Pistons played them back in the fall.
Also, it seems worth mentioning the Josh Smith narrative. Smith, as you all probably know, spent his first nine NBA seasons with Atlanta. In his highly-anticipated first game against Atlanta, he scored 11 points. In his second game against the Hawks, though, he was held scoreless. Tonight’s play from Smith will probably be marginally influenced by the fact that he’s playing against his former team, although the fact that he’s been a part of the Pistons for over half a season now will probably minimize the effect it has.
The Hawks are currently in a downward spiral, down four rotation players (Pero Antic, Hoford, Teague, DeMarre Carroll) and on a seven game losing streak. They were towards the upper quarter of the Eastern Conference most of the season, but after this abysmal stretch they have dropped down to seventh in the East, only two spots ahead of the ninth place Pistons. The Pistons are 0-2 since the break, being dominated by the Bobcats two straight nights. A win for either team in tonight’s game would break a bad spell and maybe start a turnaround towards prosperity and a playoff berth. With only 28 games left to go, each game remaining is pivotal.
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