Preview: DET (26-30) @ ATL (19-39) 2/22/19 7:30PM State Farm Arena, Atlanta, GA
The Atlanta Hawks look to regain their swagger after a lousy stretch just before the break.
After an impressive 4-3 road trip, excitement was running high around the young Atlanta Hawks. But after a 1-4 week at home leading into the All-Star Break, that pre-mature playoff hope from some has worn off.
The Hawks ended the first “half” of the season at 18-39. Based on the roster and how we started this season, I will gladly take that with a smile on my face. For the most part, this team has battled and shown so much growth under first year coach Lloyd Pierce.
The biggest struggle this season has been the defense. The Hawks give up a staggering 118.2 PPG which is last in the league by 1.3 points. To the Hawks defense however, they employ the fastest pace in the league which obviously allows more opponent possessions. When adjusted the defensive efficiency the number is a more managable 111.0, 28th in the league. With that said, the defense must improve going forward.
Another weak area has been three point shooting. Despite what ESPN and Bleacher Report might say and what Twitter may tell you, it’s not all Trae Young’s fault. As a whole, the team shoots 34.5% from deep which is 25th in the association. After a brutal November saw Trae tank to 24%, he’s been able to get that up to 31.2%.
With only one National TV game (October 24th vs Luka and the Mavs), the brilliance of the Hawks’ young core has gone largely unnoticed. Thankfully, both showed out during the Rising Star’s Challenge. Trae Young almost (should have) won MVP and John dazzled with several incredible jams. Saturday night, Trae nearly won the Skill’s Challenge. John also had two great dunks theoretically but it wasn’t enough to propel him to the finals. One has to wonder what else he had up his sleeves.
The future is bright with these two. Add in Kevin Huerter and likely two lottery picks, the Hawks will be back in business sooner than most people think.
As for Friday’s opponent, the Detroit Pistons look to turn around their disappointing season. Many people considered Detroit a lock for the playoffs but they’ve flopped to a 26-30 record at the break. Despite this, Blake Griffin has put together a masterful season while Andre Drummond has collected every rebound in sight.
The two teams have split the season series thus far with each team winning on each other’s court.
The Hawks come in at 9-17 at home while the Pistons are also 9-17 away from Motor City.
Detroit led by Blake Griffin (26.3 PPG), Andre Droummond (17.4 PPG) and Reggie Jackson (14.9 PPG).
Game time is set for 7:30 PM from State Farm Arena in Downtown Atlanta
Guard – Trae Young
Guard – Kevin Huerter
Forward – Taurean Prince
Forward – John Collins
Center – Dewayne Dedmon
Guard- Reggie Jackson
Guard- Wayne Ellington
Forward- Glenn Robinson III
Tip Off: 7:30 PM ET
Radio: 92.9 The Game
Prediction: Hawks 123 Pistons 117
Next Three Games
Saturday 2/23 Vs Phoenix | 7:00 PM
Monday 2/25 @ Houston | 8:00 PM
Wednesday 2/27 Vs Minnesota | 7:30 PM
News and Notes
The Hawks signed G Jalen Adams to a multi-year contract.
The Hawks signed F Jordan Sibert to a 10-day contract.
The Hawks have the most home games remaining in the league.
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Phil Veasley | @_ATLPhil Twitter | @ATLSportsHQ Twitter/IG