Atlanta struggled early to contain Detroits huge front line of Smith, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. The Pistons grabbed an early lead on the glass and both Rodney Stuckey and Brandon Jennings got going offensively in the second quarter. The Hawks trailed 46-43 at the half after being outscored 33-28 in the second quarter.
The game remained tight in the third with neither team able to establish themselves. Lou Williams found Mike Scott at the basket for a old fashioned three-point play that gave Atlanta a 71-68 lead with nine minutes remaining. The Hawks would not trail again as Jeff Teague took control down the stretch.
Paul Millsap led the way for the Hawks with 19 points on 8-14 shooting. His status was uncertain before the game due to an elbow injury and he did not play in the fourth quarter with the Hawks ahead. Millsap's status is something to keep an eye on heading into Friday's rematch against the Pistons.
Jeff Teague scored eight of his 18 points in the fourth quarter and also finished with seven assists. DeMarre Carroll recorded the first double-double of his career with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Mike Scott added 11 points off the bench while Al Horford finished with 10 points, eight boards, two assists and a game-high five blocked shots.
Brandon Jennings kept the Pistons in the game with 21 points, seven rebounds and six assists but was just 9-21 from the field. Rodney Stuckey scored 18 points off the bench before fouling out with four minutes left in the game. Andre Drummond added a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Josh Smith was greeted with a mixture of cheers and boos as he was introduced during pregame. He had a rather forgettable performance finishing with 11 points on 5-15 shooting including 0-4 from three point range.
Atlanta improves to 7-5 on the season and will head up to Detroit on Friday for a rematch with the Pistons.