Hawks aim to break skid at home vs. Pistons
Detroit (5-5) has dropped three of its last four road games, the exception being a 103-96 victory over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night.
Atlanta (3-8), which lost 112-107 to the Knicks on Wednesday, would like to grab another victory before embarking on a four-game road trip that begins on the West Coast and ends in Indiana.
This is the first of three meetings between the two clubs this season. Last year, the Pistons won three of four games against the Hawks, but Atlanta won the last encounter on its home court.
Detroit has gotten excellent effort from Andre Drummond. The center from UConn has recorded 10 halves with at least 10 rebounds this season, the most in the NBA. Drummond had his fourth game this season with 20 points and 20 rebounds against the Heat on Monday, when he went for 25 points and 24 boards. Drummond averages 18.9 points and 16.6 rebounds.
"Andre was the player of the game for me," Pistons coach Dwane Casey said after Wednesday's win. "The way he competed, just playing hard. Not one play was called for him, but he's not worried about touches. He just goes out and plays his butt off and once we all get in our mind what the important things are to win in this league, we're going to be OK."
Forward Blake Griffin leads the Pistons with 27.3 points and is contributing 10.7 rebounds and 4.6 assists in nearly 37 minutes. Griffin scored 20 against Orlando on Wednesday, his ninth time this season to reach at least 20 points. Through 10 games, Griffin has scored 273 points, the most for any Detroit player since Jerry Stackhouse had 277 in 2000-01.
Guard Reggie Jackson is averaging 16.2 points and has made at least one 3-pointer in every game. Jackson recently dished out his 2,000th career assist.
Atlanta's top scorer has been guard Trae Young, who has scored in double figures in his first 11 games to set a franchise record. He's averaging 18.6 points and 8.1 assists, fifth best in the NBA and best among rookies. Young has had three consecutive games with double-digit points and assists.
Rookie Omari Spellman had a breakthrough game on Wednesday against the Knicks. He had 18 points and 10 rebounds -- both career highs -- in posting his first career double-double.
The young Hawks have played hard. They rank third in turnovers forced (17.6), sixth in steals (8.6) and seventh in blocks (6.2). They are tied for the league lead in charges drawn (13) and rank second in deflections (15.7) and fourth in loose balls recovered (9.9).
But Atlanta has had difficulty with third-quarter letdowns. It happened again on Wednesday when the Hawks were outscored by 17 points and fell short in their determined comeback.
"We get down double digits in that third quarter, really from an inability to score," Atlanta coach Lloyd Pierce said. "There are a lot of reasons. Out of sync. Trying to find the rhythm of the group. Someone has to kind of give us life."