Tonight is arguably the most important game of the season for Hawks fans — Josh Smith’s return to Atlanta. You can bet this was the first game Hawks fans circled on the calendar the moment the NBA released each team’s schedules.
The Hawks will be back to full-strength tonight with the returns of Paul Millsap and Lou Williams to the lineup. Both players missed last night’s game in Miami, which Atlanta lost 104-88. Millsap will step back into the starting lineup while Williams will come off the bench and have a minutes limitation on his play tonight. Coach Mike Budenholzer set a 16-minute limit for Lou when he made his season debut last Friday, however, coach Bud will not say how many minutes Williams will be limited to tonight.
It will be interesting to see if Millsap, the person who was brought in to replace J-Smoove, will guard Smith at any point in the game. Detroit plays Smith at the small forward spot because they already have Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond manning the frontcourt. Millsap and Smith will likely only matchup with one another if either Monroe or Drummond are sent to the bench for a few minutes of rest and Smith moves up to the power forward position.
However, just as intriguing as Millsap-Smith will be the matchup between DeMarre Carroll and Smith, which will be featured all game long.
Carroll was brought in from Utah, along with Millsap in free agency, and actually wears the number 5 jersey, which was the number Josh Smith wore last season and throughout his nine-year tenure with the Hawks.
Smith is averaging 16.5 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.5 blocks per game this season with the Pistons.
Millsap is averaging 15.8 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.1 blocks per game this season with the Hawks.
For more coverage on Josh Smith’s return to Atlanta, read this piece written by Aaron Blue.
Who?: Detroit Pistons vs Atlanta Hawks
What?: The Return of J-Smoove (Game #12, Home Game #5)
Where?: Philips Arena (Atlanta, GA)
When?: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 – 7:30 PM (ET)
How?: SportSouth HDTV / 92.9 FM “The Game”
PG: Jeff Teague | SG: Kyle Korver | SF: DeMarre Carroll | PF: Paul Millsap | C: Al Horford
PG: Brandon Jennings | SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope | SF: Josh Smith | PF: Greg Monroe | C: Andre Drummond
Atlanta Hawks: None.
Detroit Pistons: Chauncey Billups (left knee tendinitis) and Will Bynum (sore left hamstring) are day-to-day.
Current Records, Streak & Hot, Lukewarm, or Cold
Records: Atlanta Hawks (6-5) / Detroit Pistons (4-6)
Streaks: Atlanta Hawks –> OVERALL: Lost 1 | HOME: Won 1 | ROAD: Lost 1 Detroit Pistons –> OVERALL: Won 1 | HOME: Won 1 | ROAD: Lost 1
Home/Away Records: Hawks are (3-1) at home / Pistons are (1-4) on the road.
Atlanta Hawks: Lukewarm. The Hawks got beat by the Heat for the eighth straight time last night, but Atlanta had won the last two games prior to Miami and have been terrific sharing the ball this season, posting at least 20 team assists in all 11 games played.
Detroit Pistons: Lukewarm. The Pistons are coming off a home victory over the struggling New York Knicks, and have won two of their last three games overall.
Season/Past Season Series
The Hawks host the Pistons in the first-of-two consecutive matchups. The clubs will meet three more times – in Detroit on 11/22 and 2/21 and on 1/29 in Atlanta. Last season the Hawks won the series 2-1, taking the only contest at Philips Arena 126-119 in 2OT on 12/26/12. Atlanta closed the season-series with a 114-103
triumph at Detroit on 2/25. The Hawks own a nine-game home winning streak against the Pistons. Detroit’s last victory in Atlanta came in a 94-90 contest on
2/12/08. Atlanta leads the all-time series 169-160, but the Pistons own a 51-49 road record since the Hawks moved to Atlanta in 1968-69.
Josh Smith is an Atlanta-native and played nine seasons with the Hawks (2004-13) after being a first round draft pick by the organization. Hawks Assistant Coach Darvin Ham won an NBA Championship as a player with Detroit in 2003-04. Pistons Coach Maurice Cheeks played 56 games for Atlanta in 1991-92. Pistons
Assistant Coach Henry Bibby is the father of Mike Bibby, who played three-plus seasons with the Hawks (2007-11). Pistons Assistant Coach for Player Development
Rasheed Wallace played one game in a Hawks uniform in 2003-04. Al Horford went to high school in Grand Ledge, MI. Will Bynum played his final two
collegiate seasons at Georgia Tech, while teammate Kentavious Caldwell-Pope played college ball at Georgia. Pistons radio broadcaster Rick Mahorn is a former
Hawks Assistant Coach. Gustavo Ayon and Brandon Jennings were teammates with the Bucks for part of 2012-13.
Information provided from the Hawks and Pistons official gamenotes.