Atlanta Hawks hold off late surge in win over Detroit Pistons


The Atlanta Hawks took on the Detroit Pistons on Friday night, and naturally, the story becomes Josh Smith and he didn’t disappoint. The polarizing ex-Hawk had probably his finest quarter of the season in the first, amassing 8 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists.

The game was just as polarizing. Atlanta once led by 19 points in the third quarter, but the Pistons would go on a late run to tie the game 74-74. That was the closest the Pistons would get to the lead, as the Hawks were able to close out Detroit by a final of 99-89.

The early parts of the first quarter was back and forth with both teams shooting at a high percentage. The Hawks took the lead at the 5:54 mark in the first and it appeared as if the Hawks might route the Pistons.  Atlanta dominated the final 18 minutes of the half taking a 10 point lead into the locker room. Paul Millsap led all Hawks with 10 points and 7 boards at the break.

The Hawks looked confident in the first half, as 9 players got on the score sheet and all ten had 7+ minutes. At times, it was hard to tell whether the Hawks were playing great defense or if the Pistons were just struggling to make shots.  The Pistons managed to shoot 35% from the field in the first half as Josh Smith led the Pistons with 10 points.

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The Hawks appeared to separate themselves from the Pistons in the third, taking a 19-point lead with 4:25 left in the quarter, but it’s the NBA and everyone makes a run.Atlanta went scoreless for almost 5 minutes between the end of the 3rd and the start of the 4th which allowed the Pistons to go on a 23-4 run to tie it up at 74.  The teams traded baskets to get it to 76-76 but then a Kyle Korver 3 pointer put the Hawks ahead for good. Atlanta would finish the game on a 23-13 run, which puts the Hawks a game over .500 for the season (6-5).

Jeff Teague was almost masterful in the 2nd half on both ends of the court. Coach Bud praised his defense in the the post-game press conference and his offensive numbers speak for themselves. Teague dropped 28 points to go along with his 4 boards, 6 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocked shots.  Let’s put that another way, Jeff Teague had more blocked shots than Josh Smith.  If the Hawks want to continue their climb up the Eastern Conference ladder, Jeff Teague will have to have more games like tonight.

The Hawks next game is Tuesday in D.C as they take on John Wall and the Wizards. Check back in for full previews and recaps of all Atlanta Hawks action.