Coasting through their best stretch of the season has allowed to the Detroit Pistons to give their starters plenty of rest.
A fresh Pistons team look to extend their winning streak to a season-high five games when they meet the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night for the first time this season.
New Orleans and Detroit split two games last season, with each winning on the road. The Pistons have won five of the last six meetings overall.
Central Division-leading Detroit (12-5) has been dominant during its run, outscoring its opponents by an average of 23.8 points. The Pistons have essentially played four straight three-period games, with their starters getting ample rest in the final quarter.
Detroit led Atlanta by 28 before turning the game over to its reserves in a 106-95 win Tuesday night.
“It’s definitely fun the way we’re playing right now,” Pistons forward Tayshaun Prince told the team’s official Web site. “We’re really moving the ball well and we’re playing great on the defensive end.
“Once we settled down in the second half and got our defense set, the offense came even better. We’re doing a great job of moving the basketball.”
Prince had 23 points against the Hawks as Detroit had seven players score in double figures. Prince, who bounced back from an eight-point effort in a 118-95 win over New Jersey on Sunday, is averaging 20.0 points while shooting 60.3 percent from the field in his last six road games.
Prince had double-doubles in both games last season against New Orleans, averaging 15.5 points and 10.0 rebounds.
The Pistons’ offense is averaging 112.5 points during their winning streak after being held less than 100 points in each of their previous five games.
Detroit’s defense has also stepped up, holding its last four opponents to an average of 88.8 points. Richard Hamilton and the Pistons limited Joe Johnson, the Hawks’ leading scorer with 21.7 points coming in, to a season-low five.
New Orleans (12-6) has won three of four following a season-high three-game skid. All of the Hornets’ last four games have been tight, however, including a 112-108 overtime win over Dallas on Saturday night.
New Orleans needed a 3-pointer from Peja Stoajakovic with 2.9 seconds left in regulation to reach overtime before beating the Mavericks for the first time in 22 meetings dating to November 1999.
“It’s just 18 games into the season, but for us as a team, I think it’s a good win,” said Stojakovic, who finished with 22 points. “We can use this game to build and get better.”
Stojakovic, a previous winner of the NBA All-Star 3-point shooting contest, has found his touch after returning from back surgery that kept him out for much of last season. His 49 3-pointers this season are second only to Orlando’s Rashard Lewis (53).
Chris Paul is averaging 28.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 9.0 assists and 3.0 steals while making all 20 of his free-throw attempts over his last three games for New Orleans. The point guard had 33 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds and three steals versus Dallas.
On Nov. 15, 2006, Paul had 20 points and 13 assists in a 100-99 road win over the Pistons. An ankle injury kept him out of a 92-68 home loss to Detroit on Jan. 4.