Pistons host Hawks

Essentials

  • Teams: Atlanta Hawks (7-5) at Detroit Pistons (4-7)
  • Date: November 22, 2013
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: FSD

What to look for

The Atlanta Hawks are surprisingly one of the best offensive units in the league. They score 103.4 points per 100 possessions (nine in the league) with the aid of some intriguing pieces that surround Al Horford.

Josh Smith’s defection to the Detroit Pistons should have set the Hawks back but Atlanta is learning to cope. He was replaced by a solid and underrated power forward in Pau Millsap. The former Utah Jazz big man is equipped with decent ball-handling skills, good finishing ability at the rim and a jumper.

In other words, he mitigates Smith’s departure with the blend of skills he brings to the table. Mind you, Millsap is not the lone player alongside Horford that makes this offense click.

Jeff Teague has evolved as a point guard and gives Atlanta some playmaking off the bounce. Furthermore, the Hawks keep defenses honest by running Kyle Korver through a series of screens. This team has players capable of putting the ball inside the hoop and they accomplish this through execution.

This was widely evident in their last matchup against Detroit. Indeed, Atlanta started their offense by running off-the-ball screens on one side of the floor and from there, the big man came over and ran a simple pick-and-roll with the ball-handler.

Some of the Hawks’ sets were incredibly simple and yet, the Pistons simply had no answer. The man setting the ball screen consistently got loose for easy looks because Detroit players struggled with handling a second defensive rotation.

Atlanta ran some stuff that simply confused tonight’s home team and thus resulted in high-percentage looks. Interestingly enough, the tandem of Smith and Andre Drummond is so athletic that there are times where their physical gifts will allow them to get back into plays defensively.

For instance, Drummond was late on a few plays, but he still managed to blow things up by contesting shots seemingly out of nowhere. With that said, Maurice Cheeks’ group has had a chance to view these plays on film and also defend them firsthand.

Consequently, the Pistons should do a better job of dealing with the multiple actions the Hawks run. Granted, they might still bring a few wrinkles to the table but Detroit simply must be better defensively in order to compete with this Atlanta team.

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Tags: Atlanta Hawks THN-ATL