Today at 3:30 pm EST the Pistons will be back on the road for the first time in a while to play against the Hawks in Atlanta. The Pistons are on one day of rest after losing to the Clippers on Friday, while the Hawks are also on one day of rest after losing to the Cavaliers.
The Atlanta Hawks are bad. Like really bad. They come in sporting an offensive efficiency of 103.9 points per 100 possessions which is 22nd in the NBA, with the 25th ranked defense at 108 points allowed per 100 possessions.
They are led by Dennis Schroder who is pretty good I think. He's scoring 19.5 points with 6.3 assists per game, he's also shooting 28% from deep. Regardless, Schroder is fast and can get to the rim with ease and is almost certainly their best player. Taurean Prince has emerged as a nice bouncy young forward with a reliable long range shot and plays hard on defense. Kent Bazemore is having a bounce-back season after last year's disaster, he will be comically overpaid the entirety of his contract but at least he can play again. I'm pretty sure they haven't bought out Ersan Ilyasova, he can shoot threes and is tall. Dewayne Dedmon is athletic and plays hard even if he has very limited skills at center. John Collins is a pogo-stick center, he has a lot of work to do but he's fun for now at least. Miles Plumlee is tall and white, Malcolm Delaney is probably not actually a good point guard, Mike Muscala is also tall and white.
Matchups to watch:
Blake Griffin vs. lolololol: Remember what it was like to watch Ersan Ilyasova guard Blake Griffin? I do. Taurean Prince may be their best chance and he would be giving up a couple inches and like twenty some pounds.
Andre Drummond vs. The bouncy centers: Dedmon and especially Collins are bouncy effort guys and both play few enough minutes that they can go all-out the entire game. If Drummond stays focused he shouldn't have a problem, but they will not let him slack off. That said, those two don't figure to really stand much chance against him.
Griffin/Drummond vs. Bounce-back: Both played poorly in their last outing, both have favorable matchups in this one. Get back on track.
Reggie Bullock vs. Being Ray Allen: He has been playing out of his mind lately, and given that he is the only Piston in the starting lineup who can shoot they need it. If he starts to go cold the Pistons could be in serious trouble.
Jameer Nelson and James Ennis vs. Playing? Nelson was already with the team, Ennis is supposed to be with them now. Ennis is almost certainly going in right away, I don't know about Nelson. Either way, we will see.
Stanley Johnson vs. AGGRESSION: Keep attacking Stanley, never slow down.
So in conclusion...
Wink knowingly at your friends if:
Blake Griffin is scoring very easily very often.
Andre Drummond is doing lots of things very easily very often.
The Pistons are not messing around and take control of the game quickly.
Run for the hills if:
Dennis Schroder is getting easy penetration.
Griffin and/or Drummond is just off again.
The Pistons continue to look a combination of worn out and disjointed.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
Blake Griffin scores many points.
James Ennis is in the rotation.
The Hawks never really get going.
Blake Griffin has a very easy time and so do the Pistons, the game is never close.
Pistons 116 – Hawks 92.
What do you think? Can Andre and Blake bounce back?