Pistons try to avoid 0-3 start to homestand

Essentials

Teams: Atlanta Hawks at Detroit Pistons

Date: Feb. 14, 2011

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Television: Fox Sports Detroit

Records

Pistons: 20-35

Hawks: 33-20

Probable starters

Pistons:

Hawks:

  • Mike Bibby
  • Joe Johnson
  • Marvin Williams
  • Josh Smith
  • Al Horford

Las Vegas projection

Spread: Pistons +4.0

Over/under: 187.5

Score: Hawks win, 95.75-91.75

Three things to watch

1.  Another day, another tough big

The Pistons struggle to guard even semi-talented big men. And Al Horford is more than semi-talented. LaMarcus Aldridge killed the Pistons last night with mostly elbow jumpers. Horford’s modus operandi is in the low post, and that’s an even bigger problem for the Pistons. As good as Monroe has been, he often cedes position to stronger bigs. His backups, Chris Wilcox and Charlie Villanueva, aren’t much better in that respect, and Wallace simply won’t play enough minutes to have a chance at successfully limiting Horford’s impact for an entire game.

2. Success vs. the Hawks

Inexplicably, the Hawks are about the only good team the Pistons have consistently played tough over the last few years. Detroit has won 10 of 11 vs. Atlanta at the Palace. The Pistons played one of their best games of the season at home against Atlanta earlier this season, beating the Hawks by 23, although Atlanta played without Joe Johnson in that game.

3. Similar styles

Atlanta certainly has more talented personnel that they use better, but the Hawks are similar to the Pistons in that they don’t really have a point guard running their attack. Johnson leads the team in assists and runs much of the offense while Mike Bibby is more of a spot-up shooter. If the Pistons can force Johnson into an inefficient game, they’ll have a chance to mitigate their likely disadvantage against the Horford/Smith frontline.

Pregame Reading