Game Preview: Detroit vs. Atlanta

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Date: Feb. 11, 2009

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Detroit record: 27-23

Atlanta record: 30-21

Detroit probable starters:

PG SG SF PF C

Rodney
Stuckey
Allen
Iverson
Tayshaun
Prince
Amir
Johnson
Rasheed
Wallace

Atlanta probable starters:

PG SG SF PF C

Mike
Bibby
Joe
Johnson
Marvin
Willaims
Josh
Smith
Al
Horford

Spread: Detroit -3.5

Outlook: The Pistons are 3-5 in the second game of back-to-backs, including a loss to the Suns at the Palace on Sunday that followed a win in Milwaukee.

Although today’s game also features a return to Auburn Hills the day after a road game, the contest against the Hawks has the potential to go better for Detroit for a few reasons.

1. The trip from Chicago is shorter than from Milwaukee.

2. The Bucks game went to overtime and lasted until almost 11:30.

3. The Pistons stopped playing against the Bulls after the third quarter, so they should be well-rested.

Chicago’s game-ending 17-2 run encapsulates the gutlessness that has consumed Detroit this season, which may include a pregame decision.

Pistons coach Michael Curry originally planned to start Richard Hamilton in place of a sick Allen Iverson, according to A. Sherrod Blakely of the Booth Newspapers. But Arron Afflalo started instead. No explanation was given, but my guess is Curry was afraid of restarting the shooting guard controversy if Hamilton played well.

Iverson is questionable again tonight, according to Blakely, so Afflalo will probably start again if Iverson is out. That could help defensively against Mike Bibby, who 27 points on 13 shots against the Pistons in December. Bibby was mostly guarded by Iverson in that game.

Detroit has struggled to defend point guards lately:

Derrick Rose: 23 points on 10-of-15 shooting and no turnovers in 29 minutes.

Steve Nash: 15 points and 21 assists.

Ramon Sessions: 44 points on 13-of-18 shooting and 12 assists.

That trend will probably have to change tonight for the Pistons to win. 

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