Atlanta wins its 10th straight at home
“That would be huge,” Crawford said. “It’s something that hasn’t happened here in (a long time), so that’s a big deal.”
The Hawks also handed Detroit its 11th straight loss, the Pistons’ worst run since dropping 13 in a row Dec. 15-Jan. 11.
In his first season with Atlanta, Crawford has been instrumental as the sixth man. Crawford is second on the team with a 17.8 scoring average and he filled an offensive void left Saturday by Joe Johnson’s(notes) sprained right thumb.
Now in his 10th NBA season, Crawford understands how badly Atlanta struggled with nine straight seasons through 2007-08.
“Being a 50-win team means you’re pretty good, but we won’t be satisfied with that,” Crawford said. “We’ll continue to try to build on what we’ve done and try to get some steam going into the playoffs.”
Jonas Jerebko’s(notes) layup at the 3:29 mark of the third gave the Pistons their first lead since Will Bynum’s(notes) jumper made it 17-16 with 1:51 left in the first. But the Hawks never trailed after Zaza Pachulia’s(notes) tip-in made it 76-74 with 11:13 remaining.
Ben Gordon(notes), who signed a five-year, $55 million contract with Detroit last summer, finished 0 for 7 from the field and went scoreless. In his last 33 games, Gordon has scored in single digits 19 times, including three with no points.
Maurice Evans(notes) scored 10 points as he started in place of Johnson, the Hawks’ leading scorer. Injuries also caused forced the Pistons’ Richard Hamilton(notes), Ben Wallace(notes) and Jason Maxiell(notes) to miss the game.
Detroit’s last field goal came with 2:25 left in the game when Stuckey’s layup cut the Hawks’ lead to five at 88-83.
Over a difficult stretch that has included few highlights, Pistons coach John Kuester was pleased to watch his team commit a season-low three turnovers.
“I think we competed,” Kuester said. “It was good to see that we took care of the basketball. We had about four or five possessions in the fourth where we couldn’t come up with anything. We had some good looks. The ball just didn’t go in the hole.”
Crawford hit a pair of free throws to end the scoring with 22.8 seconds remaining.
Smith thought Crawford’s contribution was critical considering the Hawks were coming off a five-point loss the night before at Cleveland and so much of the offense goes through Johnson.
“He has so many offensive plays that we run for him that we don’t know what’s going to happen,” Smith said. “So whatever works (without Johnson) we stick with it.”
“I think the old Hawks would have done that,” Williams said. “Guys have really matured. We know we have to play hard every single night.”
NOTES: Hawks coach Mike Woodson listed Johnson as day-to-day, adding that he hopes he’ll be ready Tuesday night at Charlotte. … Detroit’s 7-30 road record includes a current 11-game losing streak. … Atlanta improved to 19-7 when Crawford hits a 3-pointer. He was 6 of 9 from 3-point range.