Date: November 22, 2013
Tip-Off Time: 7:30 PM ET
TV Channel: SportSouth (Local in Atlanta), NBA League Pass
Radio: 92.9 FM (Atlanta Flagship), Atlanta Hawks Radio Network Affiliates
Live Stream: League Pass Broadband
It’s the Josh Smith rematch!
On Wednesday, the Hawks were able to grab a win in Smith’s return to Philips Arena, but on Friday, they make a return trip to Detroit to “run back” the contest. This isn’t a terribly unusual thing in the NBA, but it’s always interesting to evaluate the same two teams squaring off in back-to-back games.
The Hawks didn’t crack 100 points for just the 3rd time this season on Wednesday night, and I’d expect a slightly better output on that end. Detroit is currently 29th in the league (only ahead of Utah) in defensive efficiency, allowing 105 points per 100 possessions, and that paired with Atlanta’s 9th-ranked offense should spell trouble for the home team in this game.
Player rotations will be interesting to evaluate here also, with Lou Williams not making the trip to Detroit (he’s expected to play against Boston in Atlanta on Saturday) and the deployment of the “big” lineup for the Pistons featuring Josh Smith as a small forward. This should presumably bring a lot of Gustavo Ayon and/or Mike Scott in this game, but both players have been playing extremely well lately, and it’s not a negative to see them on the floor.
As a highly-intriguing sidebar, Kyle Korver will look to continue his assault on the NBA record book on Friday night. Korver’s streak of consecutive games with a 3-pointer currently sits at 85, and that is just 4 games shy of the all-time mark held by Dana Barros. On the year, Detroit is allowing 7.5 threes (on nearly 37%) to the opposition, and Kyle will certainly have the green light from the opening tip.
The point guard battle will again be a spot where the pendulum could shift in this game, also, as Jeff Teague soundly “defeated” Brandon Jennings in the world of efficiency on Wednesday night. Teague vs. Jennings became a hot-button topic when both were on the free agent market this summer, but it’s become relatively clear (albeit in a small sample) that Atlanta’s decision to lock up Teague instead of a pursuit of Jennings was the right move.
Per usual, we take a glance at Las Vegas (for the “expert” take), and the books have listed the Pistons as a 3.5-point favorite in this spot. I thought it would be lower, personally, but in translation, this basically gives the impression that Vegas believes that the teams are relatively even with a slight bump in the line for the home-court advantage for the Pistons in Auburn Hills.
This should be a fun “rematch” for Hawks fans, and while the level of interest on Josh Smith’s individual performance probably won’t resonate quite to the level of Wednesday night in Philips Arena, it’s certainly something to monitor.
Stay tuned for updates throughout the night, and a full recap to follow.