Hawks-Pistons Preview

Atlanta Hawks coach Larry Drew liked the poise his team showed

in its latest game. Judging by their matchups with the Detroit

Pistons this season, the Hawks might need that again to keep

rolling on their longest road trip of the season.

The Hawks seek their fifth victory in six games and a

season-high fourth in a row away from home Monday night against the

Pistons.

Atlanta (31-23) trailed by as many as 10 points in the fourth

quarter Saturday at Milwaukee before rallying for a 103-102 victory

in the opener of a six-game trek. Al Horford hit the go-ahead shot

with 5.9 seconds left and tied Jeff Teague for the scoring lead

with 23 points.

“We were able to maintain our composure, particularly in the

second half,” Drew said. “When we went down 10, we didn’t panic. We

came up with some big plays down the stretch.”

Devin Harris contributed 21 points while Josh Smith had 15 and

13 rebounds in his second game since a trade that would have sent

him to the Bucks fell through.

“Josh has been a super player for us,” Drew said. “I’m glad he’s

still a Hawk.”

Atlanta couldn’t come up with a big play at the end of its most

recent game at Detroit on Jan. 4. Andre Drummond blocked Lou

Williams’ 20-footer at the buzzer to preserve the Pistons’ 85-84

victory, snapping their three-game skid in the series.

The Hawks also had a late shot by Horford changed from a

3-pointer to a two-point basket on replay. They’ve lost by one

point in each of their last two trips to Detroit, and they went to

overtime to earn their latest win there Jan. 27, 2012.

Atlanta needed double OT for a 126-119 home victory over the

Pistons on Dec. 26 after blowing a 22-point lead in the fourth

quarter.

Detroit, though, has dropped five of its last seven at home and

was swept in back-to-back games against Central Division leader

Indiana over the weekend.

After getting blown out 114-82 in Indianapolis on Friday, the

Pistons (22-36) got off to a poor start in a 90-72 home defeat the

next evening. They had just nine points in the first quarter – the

fewest by any NBA team in an opening period this season – and

finished with their lowest point total of 2012-13.

“Sometimes it’s a domino effect. You start missing open shots,

start pressing a little bit,” coach Lawrence Frank said. “We just

need to learn from it and grow and get better.”

Will Bynum had a team-best 15 points off the bench but also

showed his frustration, getting ejected in the fourth quarter for

striking Tyler Hansbrough. On Sunday, the league handed Bynum a

one-game suspension, which is great news for the Hawks. He had a

season-high 31 points in the double OT game in Atlanta earlier this

season.

Smith is averaging 21.7 points in his last 10 games against

Detroit and will try to help the Hawks win four straight on the

road for the first time since Jan. 27-Feb. 10, 2012.

Horford has topped 20 points in five consecutive contests

overall, but hasn’t scored more than 18 in seven all-time

appearances at the Palace of Auburn Hills.