Game Preview: Pistons Look for First Win of the Preseason Against Hawks

The Detroit Pistons(0-2) play the Atlanta Hawks(2-1) tonight in their third preseason game this year. Detroit fell to the San Antonio Spurs, 86-81 in their last game, and also lost to the Brooklyn Nets in their preseason opener. Atlanta has enjoyed a solid preseason, picking up wins against the Memphis Grizzlies, and most recently, the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Hawks defeated Cleveland, 99-93 on Monday. Their newest weapon, Dwight Howard, was in old form on Monday, as he finished the game with 26 points, eight rebounds, two assists, two blocks, and a steal.

Former Detroit Piston, Will Bynum, two points, two rebounds, and two assists in the game. Bynum is currently on a training camp deal with the Hawks, as he vies for the final spot on their roster. Other point guards on the Hawks roster include Dennis Schroder, Malcolm Delaney, and Josh Magette. Magette is also on a camp deal. Bynum has spent six of his eight seasons with the Pistons. He averaged 8.4 points and 3.4 assists in those six seasons.

Former Michigan State sharpshooter Bryn Forbes caught fire against the Pistons on Monday as the Pistons fell to the Spurs 86-81. He had eight points on 3-4 shooting from the field, including 2-3 from the three-point line. He is also on a camp deal with the Spurs. The Pistons take on another former Spartan tonight in big man Matt Costello. Costello is on a camp deal with the Hawks. Costello had six points and five rebounds in only 10 minutes in Atlanta’s first preseason game of the season against Memphis. He had two points and two rebounds in Atlanta’s loss to the Spurs last Friday.

The Hawks will be without a few key players tonight.

Jon Leuer has been a bright spot for the Pistons in what has been a trying preseason. He had 12 points and three assists in against Brooklyn. He followed that performance of with a 14 point, 5 rebound, and 5 assist game against the Spurs. His quality play has been encouraging as he signed a lucrative $42 million deal this offseason.

Ray McCallum is scheduled to receive the backup point guard minutes tonight. He had five points, four rebounds, and four assists in his first appearance of the preseason. Lorenzo Brown, the other point guard fighting for the 15th roster spot, had nine points, four rebounds, and a steal against the Spurs.

Andre Drummond is yet to show an improved stroke from the free throw line. Through two games he is shooting 33.3% from the charity stripe, although he has only shot six free throws. The volume is low, so do not look into the percentage too much. Either way, it does not look like he made a major stride in that area.

The Pistons offense still has work to do. They committed 14 turnovers against the Spurs and 15 against the Nets. With Ish Smith taking over the point guard duties, the offense has understandably had its struggles, but improvement should be on the horizon.

Stan Van Gundy announced today that rookie guard Michael Gbinije will make his debut tonight. Andre Drummond(illness) and Marcus Morris(knee tendinitis) are out tonight. Aron Baynes and Jon Leuer will start in their places. 

After tonight’s game against the Hawks, they play three more preseason games. Their next game is against the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday.

Featured image: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

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