Pistons almost blow lead but hang on to beat Hawks

The Detroit Pistons, winners of three straight, were hosting an Atlanta Hawks team that defeated them in double overtime last week. The Pistons got the revenge they wanted, but almost let the game slip away.

The first quarter, Rodney Stuckey, coming back from an injury, started a 28-11 Pistons run with a layup. Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond ended the quarter with a layup for a 25-20 lead after a quarter.

The second quarter was the Austin Daye show. Daye shot 7/8 in the quarter and totaled up 16 points, a season high. Daye knocked down two 3-pointers, had an And-1, and a highlight crossover, steopback jumper over Ivan Johnson to give the Piston a 51-36 halftime lead.

In the third quarter, Brandon Knight had a layup to give the Pistons their largest lead of the game at 18, 62-44. The Pistons kept pounding the paint as Knight followed with a layup, Kyle Singler had a layup, and Drummond had an alley-oop slam off a pass from Will Bynum.

In the fourth quarter, just as the Pistons came back from a 22 point fourth quarter deficit, Atlanta began to claw back from being 17 points down. Bynum made a layup to push the Detroit lead to 83-66 with 7:00 to go.

Kyle Korver started the Atlanta comeback with a technical free throw. Drummond was called for a technical after he arm-barred Zaza Pachulia to the floor. Korver then hit a 3, Al Horford had a layup, and Pachulia made a layup. Korver and Lou Williams made back-to-back 3-pointers to bring the Hawks to within 83-82 with 3:13 left. Detroit went 4:45 without a field goal and just like the previous two games, a double-digit lead was dwindling. Stuckey ended the Hawks 16-0 run with a layup. Stuckey split a trap from the Hawks and got the layup to go to give the Pistons an 85-82 lead with 2:15 to go.

The Pistons then began to hunker down forcing four missed shots and a turnover. After Jason Maxiell blocked Horford, he was fouled by Pachulia. Maxiell missed both free throws with 1:30 left and it almost cost them. Tayshaun Prince missed a floater with 25 seconds left and Atlanta had a chance to tie, and it almost looked like they did. Jeff Teague found Horford wide open at the 3-point line and Horford knocked down the 3 to tie the game 85-85 with 5.2 left, so it seemed. The referees reviewed it and huddled up, then head ref Bennett Salvatore ruled that Horford’s toe was on the line and called it a 2-pointer. The Pistons lead remained 85-84 with 5 seconds left.

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Prince then turned the ball over with 3.9 seconds left and now the Hawks had a chance to win. Atlanta got the ball to Williams, Williams turned around and was blocked by Drummond and the Pistons held on for an 85-84 win and their fourth straight win.

Daye led the way with a season high 20 points, Monroe had 18 and nine rebounds, Maxiell had 10, 10 rebounds, and three blocks, and Drummond had nine rebounds and a big block for Detroit. Stuckey had 10 points in his return from an ankle injury after missing three games. The Pistons are 4-0 on this cuurent five game homestand and host the slumping Charlotte Bobcats on Sunday to close out the homestand. The Pistons out-rebounded Atlanta 56-38 and had 52 points in the paint compared to 34 for the Hawks. That’s been something the Pistons have used lately as they have an average points in the paint lead of 51-34 over the past four games. A big difference in this game and the game these teans played last week was transition points. In the game these teams played last week in Atlanta, the Hawks had 36 fast break points, tonight the Pistons held them to 13 fast break points.

The Pistons are playing better basketball, but still have a penchant for blowing big leads. On Sunday, they blew a 13 point fourth quarter lead against Milwaukee and actually trailed late before Prince bailed them out. On Tuesday against the Kings, the Pistons 16 point fourth quarter lead was down to one before Daye made a big 3-pointer to close it out. Tonight it was a 17 point fourth quarter lead and they only won by a point. A win is a win, but their youth is still showing and it’s going to catch up to them soon.

-Ky Carlin

Twitter: @Ky_Carlin


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