Auburn Hills, Mich.–Well, so much for that.
– There was a point when it looked like the Pistons had finally stopped making shots and the Hawks would methodically put them away. Except it didn’t happen. “It got out of hand quickly,” Bibby said. “They hit like three or four threes in a row and it was just a rampage of threes that we couldn’t stop.”
– The Pistons scored 39 points in the fourth quarter. If that’s not incredible enough for you, how about: The Pistons scored 39 points in the fourth quarter and T-Mac and Villanueva had 28 of them.
– “You have to give Detroit credit tonight,” L.D. said. “They made shots. Defensively we didn’t same sense of urgency that we did in the third quarter when we held them to 15 points. We completely fell apart in that fourth quarter. We turned the basketball over, they were able to run out on us and we just couldn’t get the job done.”
– The Hawks were down 66-63 with 9:46 to play. Four minutes later they were down 81-66. Usually it’s the good teams that make the Hawks pay for each mistake at winning time but the Pistons managed to do it, too.
– The rundown . . . Detroit: Villanueva made a 3. . . Josh Powell missed a layup. . . . Stuckey made two free throws. . . Smoove missed a forced hook shot. . . . T-Mac made a 3. . . . Smoove made a 3. . . . Stuckey missed a 3. . . . Villanueva stole it from Smoove. . . . Villanueva dunked on the break. . . . Bibby threw it away. . . . T-Mac made a 3.
– Just like the Hawks were down 81-68. They couldn’t get any closer than 11 from there and sent up the white flag down 92-72 with three minutes left. “We turned the ball over a couple of times, took some ill-advised shots and as I’ve explained to the guys all it takes is two or three possessions of taking bad shots and the game can get out of hand,” L.D. said.
– “I looked up at the scoreboard and they were up like 74-66,” Bibby said. “The next time I looked up it was like 80 to 100.”
– In the fourth quarter Detroit made 14 of 25 shots, scored 12 fastbreak points and had 12 points off of turnovers. The Hawks had seven turnovers, leading to 12 Detroit points, so it hardly mattered that they shot 53 percent (8 of 15).
– The Pistons played with desperation while the Hawks seemed to figure they could just make a few plays and pull out a W. The difference probably had something to do with Atlanta generally rolling along without J.J. while Detroit blew that 25-point against the Raptors on Saturday.
– The Pistons may not be the Pistons anymore but people here still care, so that kind of effort gets them dogged out. They saved some face by beating a team with a winning record for the first time.
– “I think we’re a lot better than our record shows, but I desperately wanted to get a win especially after how we played in that Toronto game,” Villanueva said. “I think we did a good job and responded well. I’d say this is what Pistons basketball is all about.”
– They’ve called Villanueva a free agent bust and T-Mac washed up. The Hawks made them look like All-Stars, and not just because of those shots they made in the fourth quarter. Both guys had season-highs in rebounds as Detroit pounded Atlanta 43-31 on the boards.
– Detroit, hardly known for inside muscle, also outscored the Hawks 36-26 in the paint. That’s just the fourth time they’ve managed to do that.
– The Hawks dropped to 12-4 against teams with losing records. They hadn’t lost this kind of game since Nov. 23 at New Jersey, the day after the beatdown from Boston and the day before the famous team meeting.
– Bad night for Jamal. He took just six shots, making one, and had five turnovers to offset four assists. He said his back was bothering him and he’s not sure if he will play Thursday.
– Without the usual scoring punch from Jamal, the Hawks couldn’t find any offense outside of Smoove, Bibby and Al. They combined to make 21 of 42 shots, everyone else was 9 of 26.
– Al was the only guy doing much rebounding for the Hawks.
— Powell gives good effort. If only he were a couple inches taller he might actually collect more of those rebounds he gets his hands on, block some of those challenged shots and finish better at the rim.
– Another one of those games where you wonder if Marvin out there. He missed some shots and then seemed to disappear. It’s hard to know how much the knee is bothering him, though.
– Rip Hamilton had his way with Bibby, Mo, and Wilkins in the first half. He didn’t even need to score in the fourth quarter with T-Mac and Villanueva draining 3s.
– “It got away from us and I don’t know how,” Josh said. “It really started with those three-point shots. T-Mac had an unbelievable game, probably his best game of the year. I think it broke our backs. We did a bad job on the rotations.”