April 6, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks head coach Larry Drew talks with point guard Jeff Teague (0) during a free throw against the Detroit Pistons during the second half at Philips Arena. The Hawks won 101-96. Mandatory Credit: Paul Abell-US PRESSWIRE
Despite being 21-34 on the season the Detroit Pistons aren't an easy out especially against the Hawks. Atlanta survived not one but two Detroit runs and eventually pulled out a 101-96 win to keep the pressure on Orlando and Indiana in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
After the Hawks took an early lead the Pistons came roaring back against Atlanta's second unit and took a 38-32 lead with just over six minutes remaining in the half prompting Larry Drew to call a time out and put his starters back on the floor. Atlanta responded and closed the half with a 16-2 run to take a 52-43 advantage at the half.
The Hawks maintained their advantage throughout the third and entered the fourth quarter leading 78-68. From there the Pistons started the fourth quarter with an 11-2 run to take an 81-80 lead with 7:57 remaining. Will Bynum would put Detroit up 83-80 before Josh Smith would score the next six points for the Hawks to put them back up 86-85 and the Hawks would never trail again.
Jeff Teague played one of his best games of the season finishing with 24 points, five rebounds and 11 assists to go along with a couple of steals. Teague made 9-16 shot attempts and was in control and on the attack throughout the game. Josh Smith turned in another solid performance going for 22 points, 12 rebounds and four assists while hitting 10-20 from the field.
Joe Johnson had a rather quiet 16 points on 6-16 shooting but did add four boards and seven assists. Atlanta got a lift off the bench from Ivan Johnson who filled in for Zaza Pachulia who was saddled with foul trouble for much of the night. Johnson finished with 16 points and six rebounds. Marvin Williams added 12 points and five rebounds also off the bench for the Hawks.
Rodney Stuckey was a pain in the side of the Hawks before hurting his hamstring and having to leave the game late. Stuckey finished with a game-high 27 points off the bench. Will Bynum added 15 points also off the bench and was a big part of the Pistons' second quarter run. Rookie Brandan Knight added 13 points and Jonas Jerebko and Tayshaun Prince added 10 points each.
With the win Atlanta pulls a half game in front of the idle Orlando Magic into sole possession of fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings. The Hawks remain a game and a half behind the Indiana Pacers who defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 103-98 Friday night.