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Hawks blow big lead, but win in 2 overtimes

The SportsXchange

ATLANTA - Josh Smith and Al Horford dragged themselves off the court, exhausted, barely able to manage a feeble fist bump. And barely able to laugh at each other as they did.

The Atlanta Hawks had just blown a 22-point lead in the fourth quarter but scraped out a 126-119 double-overtime win over the Detroit Pistons Wednesday night at Philips Arena.

"A couple of times I thought we were dead in the water," Hawks coach Larry Drew said. "Physically, we have some guys over in that locker room pretty beat up right now. But you have to expect that when you play teams like Detroit."

Jeff Teague gave the Hawks the lead for good with a three-pointer at 2:46 of the final overtime period, and he scored nine of his 17 points in the last three minutes of the second extra period. He also had 10 assists.

"We just started playing," Teague said. "We were playing cautious. We had the big lead and didn't want to lose the game.

"We just decided to leave it all out there and just play."

The Pistons haven't beaten the Hawks in Atlanta since Feb. 12, 2008, having lost nine in a row.

The Pistons trailed 84-62 with 10:57 left in the fourth quarter, but rallied to force the overtime.

"I thought the second unit showed great resolve, down 20, to fight their tails off," Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said. "We just, in regulation, couldn't come up with one stop."

Josh Smith out-scored the Pistons 14-13 in the first quarter in a season-high 31-point performance, but his 11-foot jump shot at the end of the first overtime period clanked off the front rim.

Austin Daye hit a 24-foot 3-point jump shot with four seconds left in regulation to put the Pistons up 101-100. The Hawks' Al Horford made one of two free throws with 1.8 seconds left to salvage a 101-101 tie and send the game to overtime.

The Pistons (9-22) fell behind, but never gave up, going on a 20-6 run in the fourth quarter. Will Bynum had three of his four 3-point baskets in the last quarter, finishing with 31 points, and all but three of Charlie Villanueva's 14 points came in the fourth quarter.

"I don't know what they were thinking," Bynum said, "but we were thinking to fight back."

Daye finished with eight points and 10 rebounds, and rookie Andre Drummond had 16 points and 12 rebounds.

The Hawks (17-9), third in the league in steals coming into the game, had three of them in the first five minutes of the game, and Smith had two dunks in that stretch. He also finished with 10 rebounds and six assists.

Horford scored 22 points and had 10 rebounds but was hampered by foul trouble. Lou Williams had 18 points and seven rebounds, and Anthony Morrow scored 16 points off the bench.

Tayshaun Prince scored 14 points and had five rebounds for the Pistons, who regrouped with 30 points in the second quarter to get within striking distance of the Hawks at the half, 50-45. Smith had accounted for 21 of the Hawks' points by that time, the most points in a half by a Hawk this season.

The Hawks responded to the Pistons' surge by shooting 76.5 percent in the third quarter to open an 81-62 lead.

Notes: The Hawks are 7-0 when both Smith and Horford have double-doubles. . . . Hawks coach Larry Drew, happy with the energy and tempo with which his team played in their 92-75 win over the Chicago Bulls on Dec. 22, started Lou Williams for the second consecutive game. Drew says he told Williams when he signed with the Hawks last summer that he wouldn't be pigeon-holed as a player who only came off the bench. And Drew likes the pairing of Williams and Teague in the back court. ... Devin Harris was inactive for the fourth straight game with a sore left foot. ... Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said before the game that he was expecting Prince to be available. Prince sprained his right ankle in the Pistons' Dec. 22 96-87 win at the Washington Wizards. ... Frank was happy with his team's rebounding and its ability to get into the paint in last week's back-to-back wins over the Wizards, and was hoping to see more of the same against the Hawks.
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