NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, January 4th (All times Eastern)
Atlanta Hawks (20-10) at Detroit Pistons (12-22), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - A season-high three-game winning streak will be on the line Friday night for the Detroit Pistons as they resume a five-game homestand versus the Atlanta Hawks.
The Pistons recently lost to the Hawks and dropped a 126-119 double-overtime decision down south on Dec. 26. Detroit is winless in three straight, six of seven and nine of the last 12 meetings with Atlanta, which hasn't fared so well at The Palace of Auburn Hills lately, losing 11 of 14 contests there.
Detroit is 5-1 in its last six games overall and squeezed out a 103-97 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday courtesy of Brandon Knight's 20 points. Greg Monroe had 18 and 11 rebounds, while Will Bynum scored 15 off the bench.
"This was a big win because we had a tough schedule at the beginning of the season," said Bynum, who needs 11 assists for 800 in his career. "We were on the road a lot and lost a bunch of close games, but now that we have a home stretch we have to win these games."
The Pistons, who led by a game-high 16 points (89-73), shot 52 percent for the game and had a 44-37 advantage on the glass. Andre Drummond contributed 11 rebounds in the win, Detroit's fourth in a row as the host. The homestand will commence Sunday versus the Charlotte Bobcats.
Drummond has recorded 10-plus rebounds in five of his last six games.
Detroit's Charlie Villanueva was ejected with four seconds left in the second quarter after getting called for a flagrant foul on a hard forearm to the upper body of Isaiah Thomas. Villanueva was fined $25,000 for the penalty.
On the injury front for the Pistons, guard Rodney Stuckey is probable against the Hawks with a sprained left ankle. He is averaging 12.1 ppg.
Atlanta has won five of its last six games and is in the midst of playing three straight and seven of nine games away from Philips Arena.
The Hawks rebounded from a loss at Houston to dispose of the New Orleans Hornets, 95-86, Tuesday night. Josh Smith led the way with 23 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists, four blocked shots and three steals. Al Horford posted 20 points for Atlanta, which shot 49.4 percent from the floor and used a 15-2 run in the second half to pull away.
"I thought Josh Smith really set the tone in the second half," Hawks coach Larry Drew said. "He was absolutely phenomenal, every physical play where the ball was involved he was there. He did it on both ends of the floor."
Smith posted the 5,000th rebound in his career and has swatted 13 shots in his last three games played. He is sixth in the NBA with 2.32 bpg. Hawks guard Lou Williams had scored 21 points in two straight games, but was held to nine against the Hornets. He has started the last six games.
"Lou has done a phenomenal job since I've inserted him in the starting lineup," Drew said. "He's a guy that could score. He gives up a little size at his position but he plays big. I will stay with that. It's been working for us so there's no need to change it."
Drew was just named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month.
Atlanta committed a season-low seven turnovers and pushed its record to 7-1 this season in the second game of a back-to-back.
01/04 10:56:46 ET