Scouting Report: Detroit Pistons
The Hawks defended the Pistons pretty much exactly how a team needs to in order to beat them on Wednesday night. They doubled the post when necessary, kept Detroit’s guards out of the lane and invited the Pistons to take perimeter shots whenever they were inclined. The result was an ugly but workmanlike 93-85 win, and Atlanta will be looking for a repeat performance Friday in Detroit.
The Pistons will no doubt be fired up to be back on their home floor. The Hawks can negate Detroit’s revived energy with a better offensive start than the one on Wednesday in which they scored just 15 first quarter points. The Hawks will have to do a better job of taking care of the ball than they have over the past two games, where they have committed 46 turnovers. The quality shots have been there for Atlanta, as evident by the 51 percent shooting effort Wednesday, but turnovers have limited them to 88 and 93 points after scoring 100+ in nine of their first 10 games. If the Hawks can limit the turnovers and get to 80 shots tonight, I like their chances with the way they’ve been moving the ball.
As expected, Detroit won the rebounding battle Wednesday, but only by five. The Pistons will probably win it again tonight, which is okay as long as the Hawks can limit Detroit’s second-chance points. The Pistons grabbed 15 offensive boards in Wednesday’s loss. As Coach Bud said before that game, the Hawks need a concentrated effort from all five guys against a big team like Detroit. They’ll need that effort again tonight.
Brandon Jennings led the Pistons with 21 points on 9-of-21 shooting. That’s not a bad stat line for Atlanta, because Jennings shooting 21 times means guys like Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe aren’t getting as many touches down low. I’d much rather see Jennings shoot 21 times and Atlanta take their chances on that than see Detroit’s bigs get going. In general, 9-of-21 is what Jennings is going to shoot, so you can’t be disappointed with that defensive effort. Just don’t let him get into the lane, because that’s when he can really make plays.
In fact, the only guy the Hawks weren’t able to really slow down was backup guard Rodney Stuckey, who scored 18 off the bench on 7-of-12 shooting. Stuckey was able to get into the lane for the majority of his buckets, so forcing him to take jump shots will be key for Atlanta’s second unit tonight.
The Pistons, back on their home floor, are probably going to shoot better than they did Wednesday. The Hawks will have to make sure they limit turnovers and hold Detroit to one possession. If they do that, I’d expect a home-and-home sweep.
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