After a 115-107 loss to the Detroit Pistons on the road last night, the Atlanta Hawks are now on an eight-game losing streak. Not too long ago, the Hawks held the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference, but now they have fallen all the way to the No. 8 seed and are in jeopardy of not reaching the playoffs.
Atlanta had their chance to get the job done on the road despite all the injuries and end this losing streak. However, without three key big men against the Pistons, the task proved to be too difficult. All game, the Hawks couldn’t do anything about the low-post presences of Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe and Josh Smith. Whatever they wanted to do down low, they did with ease because Atlanta had no one who could challenge a shot at the rim on the floor last night.
When the Hawks walked onto the court, their starting lineup consisted of Elton Brand and Paul Millsap as the two big men. Both players are having great seasons with Atlanta this season, but they are a little undersized to be able to handle the height of the Pistons. Brand comes in at 6-foot-9, which is not the ideal size for a starting center when your facing someone like Drummond, who is a 7-footer.
Early in the game, it was obvious that the veteran would have a tough time against one of the best young big men in the league because of the size advantage. Brand had no answer for the taller Drummond as the Detroit center finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds to help guide his team to the win. To get to 20 points, he went an amazing 10-for-11 from the field, and his point total could have been even higher if he could hit his free throws.
Drummond wasn’t the only one who wreaked havoc down low for the Pistons either. Monroe and Smith had no problem against the smaller Millsap, who is listed at a generous 6-foot-8. Millsap gave a good performance of his own on the offensive end by contributing 23 points in the loss, but on defense he struggled to make an impact due to his smaller stature. Monroe finished the game with 22 points and 15 rebounds to get the better of Millsap in their matchup.
Smith also provided Detriot with a great effort against his former team as he finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds to help the Pistons come out with a win. Without a threat of a shot-blocker down low, Smith and his teammates attacked the rim at will in order to take advantage of the mismatch because the Hawks had no answer for their height advantage while three of their tallest players sat out with injuries.