Reasonable fans can understand the Pistons might struggle a little without three regulars of the playing rotation.

But they can't understand the lifeless team that has returned from the All-Star break.

And after the latest embarrassing effort -- a 114-103 home thumping by the Atlanta Hawks -- they can at least ask for better efforts than this.

Instead they were subjected to Hawks shooters knocking down uncontested jumpers and ball handlers getting to the rim because the Pistons were strolling back on defense.

Those factors allowed the Hawks to blaze away at a 50% clip for most of the game and sink 14 three-pointers.

"Especially when you're a little bit shorthanded, everyone has to put more into the game," Pistons coach Lawrence Frank. "When teams are getting a number of easy baskets, not only is it the easy baskets, the confidence swells. Now it's just easier to make perimeter jump shots."