The Hawks came out on fire and put on a clinic while building a big early lead. Atlanta led 31-22 at the end of one and stretched the lead to as many as 23 points in the second thanks to crisp ball movement and a suffocating defensive effort. Atlanta led 64-45 at the break and it would have been more without a big individual effort from former Hawks forward Anthony Tolliver who scored 10 of his 15 points in the final six minutes of the second quarter.
The Pistons came in having won seven straight and appear to be a very different team than they were at the start of the season. Its not terribly surprising that they would make a run in the second half. They began to chip away in the third quarter as they began to find their footing offensively. Brandon Jennings cut Atlanta's lead to nine with a three-pointer with just under five minutes remaining in the period. Atlanta would right the ship and Thabo Sefolosha beat the quarter buzzer to put the Hawks up 90-75 heading to the fourth.
The Pistons weren't done yet however, as Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 16 of his 20 points in the final quarter. Back-to-back threes by Pope cut Atlanta's lead to 105-101 with 1:03 remaining. The Hawks compounded things with some shaky free throw shooting in the game's final moments. Al Horford missed a pair of attempts with 23 seconds remaining and Atlanta up four. Six seconds later Millsap went 1-2 at the line to put the Hawks up five.
Greg Monroe cut the lead to three with two seconds left. Atlanta turned the ball over on their inbound attempt setting up one last chance for the Pistons. However, Caldwell-Pope's desperation heave fell short and Atlanta escaped with the win.
Despite the late misses at the line, Horford had a monster game with 19 points, 16 rebounds and four assists. Paul Millsap added 17 points while Jeff Teague logged a double-double with 14 points and 11 assists. Thabo Sefolosha gave Atlanta a boost off the bench with 12 points and two rebounds while going 5-5 from the field.
Caldwell-Pope started the game 1-10 from the field but was red hot down the stretch and led the Pistons with 20 points. Kyle Singler knocked down three three-pointers and finished with 16. Greg Monroe and Tolliver finished with 15 each.
Atlanta improves to 28-8 on the season and set a franchise record with their eighth straight road win. They also extended their current winning streak to seven straight which is tops in the league. They are back in action on Sunday afternoon for a key division matchup against the Washington Wizards.