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Reply To: NBA • Wednesday Service Plays • 12/23/15

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Preview: Detroit At Atlanta

When: 8:00 PM ET, Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Where: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia

The Atlanta Hawks knew their path back to the Eastern Conference finals would not be easy, but after struggling at times throughout November the defending Central Division champions are rolling again. The Hawks bring a four-game winning streak into Wednesday’s home game with the Detroit Pistons, after winning just seven of their previous 18 games.

“It’s been a while since we have been streaking,” Atlanta forward Kent Bazemore told reporters after Monday’s 106-97 victory over Portland. “We had a little rough patch there.” Detroit comes in on a three-game winning streak, rallying from 18 points down to edge Miami 93-92 on Tuesday in its fourth consecutive game decided by three points or fewer – including Saturday’s epic 147-144 four-overtime victory over Chicago. Reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week Reggie Jackson scored a team-high 18 points Tuesday and is averaging 22.5 points in December. The Pistons have won nine of their past 12 after an 8-9 start.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Detroit, FSN Southeast (Atlanta)

ABOUT THE PISTONS (17-12): The Pistons lead the league in offensive rebounding (13.6 per game) and are third in total rebounding – sparked by center Andre Drummond’s league-leading 16.4 per contest – and are 15-3 when outrebounding the opposition. Jackson is conference Player of the Week for the second time in a three-week span and leads Detroit in scoring at 20.4 points per game, while guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is averaging 14.2 points in his third season (16.3 points in December) and hit the go-ahead jumper Tuesday. Detroit hit a season-high 15 3-pointers Tuesday and are 34-of-79 from beyond the arc in the past three games.

ABOUT THE HAWKS (18-12): Atlanta has been solid offensively during its winning streak, shooting 51.4 percent from the field and averaging 111.3 points per contest. Forward Paul Millsap leads the way with 17.8 points and nine rebounds per game – and is the only player in the NBA averaging at least 17 points, nine rebounds, three assists (3.4), one steal (1.8) and one block (1.2). Backup point guard Dennis Schroder is averaging 15 points and 4.5 assists per game during Atlanta’s winning streak, shooting 55 percent from the field, while forward Mike Scott has scored 28 points off the bench in the past two contests.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Detroit opened the season by beating the Hawks 106-94 in Atlanta on Oct. 27, getting double-doubles from Drummond (18 points, 19 rebounds) and F Marcus Morris (18, 10).

2. Atlanta leads the NBA with 20.1 points per game off opponents turnovers and are third in the league in average assists per contest (25).

3. Pistons G Brandon Jennings, out since Jan. 24 with a ruptured Achilles tendon, is expected to make his return next week.

PREDICTION: Atlanta 105, Detroit 101