Hawks 91, Pistons 82
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP)—The Atlanta Hawks would have been happy with any win on the road. Beating the second-best team in the Eastern Conference was even better.
“It was great to beat a team like Detroit at their place,” Atlanta coach Terry Stotts said.
Atlanta is 4-3 since going 2-4 on a West Coast road trip.
“When you hit rock bottom, it tests your character,” Terry said. “We had to take it upon ourselves to figure out what we could do to help the team win, and since we got back from the West Coast, we’ve been playing great.”
Atlanta only dressed nine players due to injuries, but still ended its four-game losing streak on the road. The Pistons have lost three straight since a 13-game winning streak. It was their first defeat at home since an 82-79 loss to New Jersey on Dec. 26.
“We didn’t play like the team that just won 13 in a row,” Richard Hamilton said. “We wanted to win this one, but they’ve been playing well and we didn’t get any consistent rhythm. Our energy was there, but there was no spark.”
Reserve Corliss Williamson matched a season-high with 20 points for Detroit, but the Pistons’ starters combined to score just 41. Ben Wallace, playing despite an illness, was the most productive with 14 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks.
“I thought we played like a bunch of strangers tonight,” Pistons coach Larry Brown said. “Our perimeter players couldn’t make a shot, and took a lot of bad ones. I spent a lot of timeouts imploring our guys to make the extra pass.”
Detroit had already won twice in Atlanta this season.
“We played them well the two times before and they made plays at the end,” Stotts said. “Tonight, we knew we had to be tough.”
The Hawks led by as many 12 in the first half, thanks to 16 points from Terry, and held a 50-45 advantage at the intermission.
Atlanta used a 7-0 run early in the third to move the margin back to double figures, and led 72-61 going into the fourth. Jackson scored nine in the period.
Detroit never got closer than nine after that.
“We came out really lackadaisical and never really picked it up,” Chauncey Billups said. “This reminds me of what we were doing a month-and-a-half ago,and we can’t go back to playing that way. This needs to end now.”
Dion Glover (migraine), Alan Henderson (family illness) and Travis Hansen (foot) missed the game for Atlanta. … Detroit did not make a 3-pointer until Chucky Atkins hit one in the final minute of the third quarter. … Crawford had only played in 22 of Atlanta’s first 44 games, while Dickau hadseen action just 16 times.