The Atlanta Hawks have not been winning many games lately. They hope that a visit from one of the worst teams in the league will change their fortunes.
The 11th place Detroit Pistons invade Philips Arena for a rare Sunday matinée (2:00 p.m., SportSouth, 97.9 FM).
Wins have been hard to come by of late for the Hawks, losers of six of nine and 12 of 18, enter play on Sunday. Nevertheless, due to the struggles of teams behind them in the standings, such as the New York Knicks, Atlanta is all but assured of the fifth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. But Atlanta can nary afford to rest on its earlier success as they still have a remote chance of catching the Orlando Magic for the fourth playoff spot in the East.
However, Atlanta is going to have to get well soon.
The Hawks are coming off of a disappointing 106-85 loss to the equally as struggling Miami Heat on Friday night. LeBron James couldn't miss in that one. He was perfect over the first two quarters before absolutely going off in the third frame. The Ohio-native, who famously took his services to South Beach, posted 23 in the third as his team built a 30 point lead. That allowed the King to sit down for the rest of the fourth quarter after posting 43 points.
Miami was not the only team that has given a Hawks team that relies way too much on the jump shot fits of late. The Hawks have lost seven of 11, including games to the Denver Nuggets, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder.
Atlanta hopes to get well against a 25-44 Pistons team that has had trouble scoring on the highway. Detroit has dropped six straight away from the Palace at Auburn Hills and has dropped five straight on Atlanta's home floor.
However, Detroit did rally from an 11-point deficit to defeat the aforementioned Knicks 99-95 on Friday night. Charlie Villaneuva posted 14 points in the win.
The Pistons may be without Richard Hamilton, who missed Friday's game due to the death of his grandmother. Hamilton had 24 points the last time these two teams met, a 103-80 victory on Dec. 14.