As for the current Pistons, Johnson said they were a long way from the teams he faced in consecutive NBA Finals in the late 1980s.
“Too many individuals,” Johnson said. “You have to get back to what made them great, and that’s defense and rebounding. … What we see now is a team that’s soft. People from Detroit and Michigan can accept losing, but not the way they’re losing.”
The Hawks should win this game and the temptation is to say it won’t tell us anything about them. But the thing the Hawks almost always do win this kind of game. Their troubles against the good teams have been well documented, and they have to start winning more games like Thursday in Boston to be considered legit contenders in the East. But until the Hawks figure that part out, there’s something to be said for handling their business against the league’s also-rans.
The Hawks have 12 Ws and just there Ls against teams that currently have losing records: Milwaukee, New Jersey and Phoenix. Of those teams, the Nets are the only squad with no real hope of turning things around.
So chances are the Hawks will handle Detroit tonight, then move on to the next one. That won’t earn accolades but neither should it be completely discounted.