Pistons fall to Hawks, 96–89

 

Detroit Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey drives to the basket against Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap on Friday. The Hawks defeated the Pistons 96-89. (Photo courtesy of the Detroit Pistons)
Detroit Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey drives to the basket against Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap on Friday. The Hawks defeated the Pistons 96-89. (Photo courtesy of Allen Einstein/Detroit Pistons)

AUBURN HILLS, MI – For the second time in three days, the Detroit Pistons fell short in a losing effort against the Atlanta Hawks – this time at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Atlanta defeated Detroit 96-89 on Friday in what Pistons players described as a disappointing loss.

“Nobody likes to lose, nobody does,” said Pistons’ forward Andre Drummond. “It’s tough to swallow.”

Detroit forward Josh Smith was taken out of the starting lineup shortly before tip-off on Friday, and responded with a scoreless, 0 for 7 performance from the field and seven rebounds in 20 minutes. It was the first time the former Hawks forward was held scoreless in a game since his rookie season in 2004-2005. In his post-game press conference, Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks said Smith was removed from the starting lineup for missing a mandatory team practice on Thursday morning.

“I called a practice and (Josh) didn’t get to practice,” said Cheeks.

Kyle Singler led all scorers with a career-high 22 points and Andre Drummond finished with 15 points and 16 rebounds for Detroit (4-8), who lost back-to-back games against Atlanta on Wednesday and Friday.

Jeff Teague led the way for Atlanta (8-5), finishing with 18 points, nine assists and six rebounds, and all five Hawks starters finished in double-digit scoring totals. Al Horford had 17 points and 11 rebounds, and Kyle Korver added 14 points on 4 for 6 shooting from 3-point range.

The Pistons return to action Sunday at Brooklyn before returning home to face Milwaukee on Monday. The Hawks host Boston on Saturday and Orlando on Tuesday.

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