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Preview: Hawks travel to Detroit in search of third straight victory

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A Sunday matinee.

Detroit Pistons v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

UPDATE: John Collins and Omari Spellman have been ruled out for Sunday’s game. Alex Poythress is available to play.


The Atlanta Hawks enter Sunday afternoon’s contest against the Detroit Pistons on the heels of back-to-back victories. Though it would be accurate to note that neither win came against a particularly impressive opponent, the Hawks are playing arguably their best basketball of the season and, in an interesting matinee affair, Atlanta will be aiming for a third consecutive victory.

This tilt represents the second match-up between the Hawks and Pistons this season, with Detroit taking the opening face-off by a 15-point margin in Atlanta. As you may expect, Detroit is expected to follow that up with a win here (the Pistons are listed as 9.5-point favorites in Las Vegas), but Blake Griffin and company are struggling mightily at the moment. Detroit opened with a 13-7 stretch but, since then, the Pistons have lost 8 of 10 games and the team’s most recent performance was an ugly, 86-point showing in a double-figure loss to the Hornets.

Still, slowing Griffin will be a difficult task for the Hawks and, in theory, it will be interesting to see John Collins square off against a player to whom he is often compared. Even with Detroit’s relative scuffles in the recent past, Griffin has been fantastic this season (25.6 points, 9.0 rebounds and career-best efficiency) and, when Collins leaves the floor, Atlanta is left without ideal options in which to deal with the star power forward.

However, there is some question about whether Collins will be available to go in this spot, as he is listed as questionable with a left ankle sprain. The second-year big man appeared to roll that ankle during Friday’s win in New York and, if Collins is unable to play, Atlanta would be left with limited options.

Alex Poythress was recalled from Erie on Saturday and he is listed as probable. With that said, Taurean Prince, Omari Spellman and Miles Plumlee remain sidelined for this game, meaning Lloyd Pierce would have only Poythress, Dewayne Dedmon, Alex Len, Vince Carter and (potentially) Justin Anderson as credible options at the 4 and 5 in the event of a Collins absence.

Stay tuned throughout the day for all the latest (including injury updates) from Little Caesars Arena.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Sunday, Dec. 23, 4:00 pm ET

Location: Little Caesars Arena

TV: Fox Sports Southeast

Radio: V103.3 FM (Atlanta); Hawks Radio Network

Streaming: Fox Sports Go; NBA League Pass (out of market)