Detroit coach Larry Brown is leaving his team just when they could need him the most.
With their coach away from the team for medical reasons, the Pistons will look to rebound from their worst offensive game of the season when they visit the league-worst Atlanta Hawks.
Brown announced after Sunday’s 64-62 win over the Utah Jazz that he will undergo surgery on Monday and will be away from the team for an undetermined amount of time. He said that the surgery is related to the hip procedure that forced him to miss six games in November.
Assistant Gar Heard, who earned a 2-4 in Brown’s first absence, will take over the reins again.
The Pistons shot 0-for-15 in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s win and finished with their lowest point total of the season. Richard Hamilton scored 15 points for Detroit, which managed only six free throws in the final period.
However, Utah shot just 4-for-20 in the fourth as the teams combined for an NBA-record 18 points in the final 15 minutes. The teams’ 126 total points ranks as the sixth-lowest in league history.
“That’s as ugly as it can get, but our defense held on long enough to win the game,” said Chauncey Billups, who had just one of his 12 points in the second half. “It was like a lid was on the basket. We got some good looks—we got some great looks—we just couldn’t knock them down.”
The Pistons, who allow an Eastern Conference-low 88.8 points per game, have won nine straight at home, but have lost four of six overall.
“It’s a miracle,” Brown said. “We didn’t get anything accomplished against their zone, but we luck out and win the game.”
The Hawks are coming off Saturday’s 105-92 loss to the Golden State Warriors. Josh Childress had 18 points and Al Harrington added 17 for Atlanta, which snapped a 13-game losing streak and a 23-game road losing streak on Friday.
The Hawks, who outscored the Warriors 62-32 in the paint, have not won consecutive games this season.
“We missed a good opportunity to get two in a row for the first time,” Harrington said. “But they were too hot for us to catch them.”