Detroit, which hasn’t lost consecutive contests this season, fell to 2-2 in its last four games with a 93-85 defeat at Indiana on Saturday.
Richard Hamilton led the Pistons with 31 points on 14-for-24 shooting from the field and Rasheed Wallace added 17 points for Detroit, which was outrebounded 59-44 while playing its fourth game in five nights.
“I think that’s a result of our guys being worn down,” Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. “I don’t think we got in any flow offensively or defensively. We just didn’t make stops or chase down long rebounds like Indiana did. We didn’t finish strong the third quarter and that resulted in us playing behind the rest of the way.”
Chauncey Billups continued his recent struggles Saturday, scoring 10 points on 2-for-8 shooting. In the last three games, he’s averaging 8.7 points and shooting 32 percent from the field, including 1-for-11 on 3-pointers.
“All our guys are basically a little worn down,” Saunders said.
Detroit, which didn’t earn its 40th victory last season until the 63rd game, has beaten the Hawks four straight times and hasn’t lost in Atlanta in over three years. The Pistons won their sixth straight there with a 117-89 rout on Jan. 18.
The Hawks had their season-high three-game winning streak ended on Saturday with a 98-85 loss to the Washington Wizards.
Despite the defeat, Atlanta likes the direction it’s headed in. The Hawks started this season with nine straight losses, but have bounced back to already surpass last season’s win total of 13.
“We’re sharing the ball, penetrating, getting to the free throw line and playing unselfish basketball,” said guard Tyronn Lue, who sprained the medial collateral ligament in his right knee during practice Monday and is expected to miss at least four weeks.
“We have been playing like that the last four or five games and we want to continue to play like that.”
Joe Johnson had a team-high 16 points Saturday and the Hawks got 40 from their reserves, but they couldn’t overcome 33 percent shooting and 19 turnovers.
“(The bench players) put us in a position to win the ball game but we just didn’t have enough energy down the stretch,” Johnson said. “But this is a tough league and there is really no excuse.”