The Palace at Auburn Hills has been anything other than filled with riches for the Atlanta Hawks. Atlanta has been a pretty good basketball team the past few years, while the Detroit Pistons have gone in the opposite direction. Nevertheless, Detroit's suburbs have not been hospitable to the Hawks, who have won just once in their last 10 games in Michigan. The red-hot Hawks, who have won eight of their last 10 games and at 8-4 are off to their best start on the road in Atlanta franchise history look to reverse that trend Tuesday (7:30 PM, SportSouth, 97.9 FM).
Josh Smith and the Hawks (16-9) have been dominant against teams with sub-.500 records, winning 11 of 14 games entering their matchup with the struggling Pistons (7-18). Tayshaun Prince and Detroit enter their matchup against the Hawks losing 12 of their last 15, including their fourth straight in a disappointing 120-116 home loss to the Toronto Raptors on Saturday.
The Pistons blew a 25 point lead in that one and lead by 16 going into the final quarter, where they were outscored 37-17. Ben Wallace and Rodney Stuckey had 23 points each in the loss for Detroit, which is one-half game behind of the Cleveland Cavaliers (7-17) and in the cellar of the Central Division.
The Hawks on the other hand are in a stretch of sensational basketball, even without star Joe Johnson. Atlanta improved to 5-2 without their superstar with a 97-83 win over the Indiana Pacers. Smith shook off a cramping hamstring to record 21 points, while Jamal Crawford added 25 at "the Highlight Factory."
Atlanta won the first matchup against the Pistons this season, posting a 94-85 home win on Nov. 3. They played that one without Crawford, who missed the game with a turf toe injury. Expect Crawford to try to be the difference maker for the Hawks in this one as Atlanta tries to win in Auburn Hills for only the fifth time in 31 games.