Stumbling Hawks eye season sweep of Pistons
The Atlanta Hawks will go for a season sweep against the visiting Detroit Pistons on Tuesday night, needing a win against the Eastern Conference cellar-dweller to keep pace in the playoff race.
The Hawks have lost three of their last four and wasted a 24-point lead in a 126-118 setback to San Antonio on Sunday. Atlanta (35-36) is No. 8 in the East, three games behind No. 7 Miami and only one-half game ahead of No. 9 Toronto and 1 1/2 games ahead of No. 10 Chicago before Monday's games.
This will be the final meeting between Atlanta and Detroit. The Hawks won the first two games in Detroit and then the most recent meeting, 130-105 on Dec. 23 in Atlanta.
Atlanta coach Quin Snyder said his team needs to learn from its poor second-half performance against the Spurs. The Hawks led 83-61 at halftime but scored only 35 points in the second half, with just 15 in the fourth quarter.
"We have to continue to see the difference," Snyder said. "The difference in the scoreboard is obvious. They did things in the first half that they didn't do in the second. One of the things I've seen all year is that a 20-point lead is no guarantee of anything. But for us to feel the difference is pretty palpable in our level of play and how we were playing."
Atlanta will need a return to form by scoring leader Trae Young. He had only nine points in the loss to the Spurs, just the second time he's not scored in double figures all season. Young, who is averaging 26.7 points and 10.0 assists per game, had been listed as questionable because of a right-knee contusion.
The game also will mark the first appearance for Atlanta's Saddiq Bey against his old team. Bey was acquired from the Pistons at the trade deadline and has averaged 10.1 points and is shooting 45.3 percent on 3-pointers in 14 games with Atlanta.
Bey is coming off a poor performance against San Antonio. He scored only one point and has not cracked double figures the last three games, going 1-for-8 on 3-pointers during that stretch.
The Pistons (16-56) lost 112-100 to Miami on Sunday and have dropped three straight and 14 of their last 15 games.
The Pistons got 22 points and 13 rebounds from James Wiseman on Sunday. Since being acquired from Golden State at the trade deadline, Wiseman is averaging 13.8 points and 9.3 rebounds. He scored 12 points in the third quarter of Sunday's loss to help give Detroit a seven-point lead it could not hold, causing coach Dwane Casey to say, "James played a hell of a game, but our transition defense is still tough."
Wiseman said, "When I'm not getting touches, I know I have to find other ways to help us win. That means rebounding and defense."
Detroit got Marvin Bagley III back on Sunday. He had missed three games with a sore ankle and scored 14 points in his return.
The status of Jalen Duren remains in question for Tuesday after he banged heads with Miami's Kevin Love in the third quarter. Love required four stitches, while Duren was evaluated for a concussion after feeling woozy and never returned to the floor.
Atlanta's Jalen Johnson has missed the last two games with left-hamstring tightness and will be out at least another week.
--Field Level Media
Updated March 20, 2023