Pistons Pregame: Detroit looks for revenge against Atlanta

Josh Smith (right) and the Detroit Pistons will have a second chance against Al Horford (left) and the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night
Josh Smith (right) and the Detroit Pistons will have a second chance against Al Horford (left) and the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night (Photo courtesy of the Detroit Pistons)

AUBURN HILLS, MI – Josh Smith’s first chance at beating his former team didn’t go as according to plan Wednesday at the Atlanta Hawks’ Phillips Arena. But the newly-acquired Pistons’ forward will have another opportunity Friday night at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

The Detroit Pistons (4-7) host the visiting Atlanta Hawks (7-5) for the second of two consecutive games between the two teams. Atlanta won the first game on Wednesday, 93-85. Detroit is playing its fourth game in six days.

The Pistons will start Smith (16.0 PPG, 5.9 RPG), forward Greg Monroe (15.5 PPG, 8.9 RPG), center Andre Drummond (12.1 PPG, 12.0 RPG), rookie shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (7.4 PPG, 1.9 RPG) and point guard Brandon Jennings (16.8 PPG, 3.8 RPG).  Though Pistons 98.2 points per game ranks 18th in the NBA, their 101.2 points allowed ranks 21st and the Pistons are 30th in opponent field goal percentage.

“We thought our offense was a little better than our defense going into the season,” said Pistons’ coach Maurice Cheeks. “We’ve got to get better on the defensive end.”

Starting for Atlanta are forwards DeMarre Carroll (9.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG) and Paul Millsap (16.1 PPG, 7.2 RPG), center Al Horford (17.4 PPG, 8.2 RPG), shooting guard Kyle Korver (12.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG), and point guard Jeff Teague (18.4 PPG, 8.7 APG). Jennings and Teague, both point guards, lead their respective teams in scoring.

Point guards Chauncey Billups (knee tendinitis) and Will Bynum (sore left hamstring) are both inactive for Detroit and listed as day-to-day. Tip-off at 7:30 p.m. ET.

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