Atlanta Hawks look to solidify playoff spot with matchup against Detroit Pistons


Apr 2, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Detroit Pistons forward Josh Smith (6) reacts during the first quarter against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

After a huge victory on the road against the Indiana Pacers, the Atlanta Hawks (34-42) are returning home to Philips Arena to take on the Detroit Pistons (28-49), and (hopefully) solidify their spot in the playoff picture.

The Detroit experiment this year has largely been a failure, and the Hawks should be in a fairly good position to grab another win tonight. The Pistons are out of the playoff picture and aside from the team wanting to play spoiler, the only thing they’ve got to be too worried about (aside from a few personnel mismatches) is Josh Smith.

The former Hawk really made a mess of things in his return to Philips way back in November, and he knows it. I would be extremely surprised if he put up another game like that tonight. He went 5-15 from the field (0-4 from 3), scored just 11 points and managed six boards. He should be motivated to play much better.

Aside from the Josh Smith storyline that’s inevitably going to pop up another Jeff Teague-Brandon Jennings matchup should be fun simply because of all the talk these two had in the offseason, and the way they play. In Detroit’s last game (a 115-111 win against Boston) Jennings scored 20 points on 6-15 shooting, made 4-8 from behind the 3-point line and only managed three assists and three rebounds.

Teague is coming off of a similar game. Against the Pacers he led both teams in scoring (25 points), shot 9-17, dished out two assists, picked up three rebounds and shot 2-5 from beyond the arc.

If anything, it’ll be fun to see these guys try and outscore each other. Vegas has the Hawks as 7-point home favorites in this one. Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@ATLBeatBlog) for updates and check back tonight after the game for a full recap. Details on start time/TV info are below.

Date: April 8, 2014

Tip-Off Time: 7:30 p.m.

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