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Hawks vs Pistons preview: Atlanta looks for another key Eastern Conference win

Every game is important for the Atlanta Hawks the rest of the way as they try to position themselves for the playoffs.

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Atlanta Hawks Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks head out on the road again on Wednesday for another game with playoff ramifications as they take on the Detroit Pistons. The Hawks have won two straight and five of their last six overall. They have climbed to within a game of both Boston and Miami who are currently tied for third in the Eastern Conference standings.

Detroit is also in the playoff mix but begins play on Wednesday on the outside looking in. The Pistons trail the Chicago Bulls by percentage points for the eighth and final playoff spot in the conference. Detroit has won 6 of 10 but were embarrassed on national TV on Monday in a 124-81 loss to the Washington Wizards.

Wednesday's game is the first of nine straight at home for the Pistons. Atlanta and Detroit have split the previous two meetings with the home team winning each time.

Defense has been the name of the game for the Hawks during the second half of the season. They currently trail only the San Antonio Spurs in defensive efficiency on the season allowing 98.6 points per 100 possessions. Since February 1, that number drops to 93.7 which is the best in the league by a wide margin.

Atlanta's offense has slowly been catching up to the play of the defense and they put it all together in a blowout win over the Indiana Pacers on Sunday. Al Horford and Paul Millsap led the way with 18 points each as Mike Budenholzer was able to rest his starters the entire fourth quarter.

The Hawks enter the game healthy with the lone exception being Tiago Splitter who is out for the season after hip surgery. Lamar Patterson and Walter Tavares are currently on a D-League assignment.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Wednesday, March 16, 7:30 p.m. ET

Location: Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit, Michigan

TV: Fox Sports Southeast

Radio: 92.9 "The Game" FM