Coming off a narrow loss against the Western Conference’s best team, the Atlanta Hawks now head home for a matchup that’s yielded far better results over the last six seasons.
With Monday’s two-point defeat at Oklahoma City settled in, the Hawks return to the court Wednesday night seeking their 11th straight home win over the Detroit Pistons.
Playing without starting point guard Jeff Teague for a second straight game due to a sprained ankle, the Hawks (23-21) had a double-digit lead late in the third quarter against the surging Thunder but were unable to hold on in Monday’s 111-109 loss.
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"Our group really competed tonight," Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. "I think their commitment to each other and their commitment to playing the way we want to play is excellent. Losing is very hard in this league and our guys are hurting."
Seven players reached double figures in scoring with Paul Millsap’s 23 leading the way. Kevin Durant’s 41 for Oklahoma City got most of the attention, but Hawks forward DeMarre Carroll was more concerned with his own team’s offensive flaws down the stretch.
"I just think we really lost the game on our own," said Carroll, who scored 15 and has averaged 15.6 in his last five games. "We missed two open 3s. We got the shots that we wanted. We just missed them. We’ve got to learn from that but it was a hard-fought game."
Shelvin Mack made his second start in place of Teague and scored 15 points to go with seven assists and only one turnover.
Oklahoma City shot 52.4 percent from the field, but the Hawks kept the lead for nearly the entire game with a 12-of-25 night from 3-point range. Their 25-of-51 mark in the last two games has lifted their season percentage to 37.0, which ranks third in the East.
The Pistons (18-27), meanwhile, are shooting an NBA-worst 30.7 percent from long range. It’s been especially bad lately with a 26.1 percent mark in their last eight games.
Detroit didn’t need much from outside in Tuesday’s 103-87 home win over Orlando, owning a 56-40 rebounding advantage and outscoring the Magic in the paint 44-22 to end a four-game losing streak.
"We needed it a lot. We’re losing, a lot of bad things are around in the air – a lot of negative energy," guard Will Bynum said. "Just happy to get a win."
Andre Drummond led the interior game with 13 points and 17 rebounds, bouncing back from a four-point, six-rebound game Sunday at Dallas. He’d had seven straight double-doubles before matching his worst scoring night and second-worst rebounding night of the season against the Mavericks.
"I told him at shootaround that he’s human," coach Maurice Cheeks said. "He’s entitled to have a bad game. It’s important to see how you bounce back."
Drummond could continue on the upswing against the Hawks, who are without Al Horford (torn right pectoral) for the rest of the season, while backup center Pero Antic is out with a stress fracture in his right ankle.
Brandon Jennings scored a game-high 20 points against the Magic and has been hot since being held scoreless for the second time in his career Jan. 20 against the Los Angeles Clippers. He’s averaged 26.0 points in four games since.
The Hawks have won both games in the series this season, holding the Pistons to 87.0 points per game on 41.5 percent shooting.