NBA Game Summary - Atlanta at Detroit
(Wednesday, February 11th)
Final Score: Atlanta 99, Detroit 95
Auburn Hills, MI (Sports Network) - Joe Johnson finished with 27 points and Ronald Murray added 23, as the Atlanta Hawks held on for a 99-95 win over the Detroit Pistons.
Josh Smith added 10 points, seven assists and seven rebounds for the Hawks, who have won two in a row and four of five. The push helped Atlanta improve its record to 31-21 going into the All-Star break, as the Hawks sit in second place in the Southeast Division, 7 1/2 games behind Orlando.
"It means a lot," Johnson said. "It was definitely a big game. These guys gave us trouble for the past few years. For us to come in their house and steal one, man, shows a lot of heart and a lot of character."
Allen Iverson recorded a game-high 28 points, but the Pistons lost their third in a row heading into the break. Detroit is 27-24 and also in second place in its division, the Central, but sits a full 13 games back of Cleveland.
"The whole thing is to stay positive, stay with each other," Iverson said. "Not to point fingers, not to play the blame game, and be real men about the situation. We're in here, we win together, we lose together...You don't win a championship at the All-Star break."
Richard Hamilton added 14 points for the Pistons, while Tayshaun Prince had 12 points, eight assists and five rebounds.
Atlanta led throughout the fourth quarter, but not by more than a few possessions. After an Iverson free throw midway through got the Pistons within 86-84, Murray and Johnson each had a basket to increase the Hawks' edge to six.
An Al Horford jumper with four minutes remaining put Atlanta ahead 92-85, and the Hawks held a two-possession lead down the stretch, until a Hamilton jumper pulled the Pistons within 96-93 with 15 seconds left.
After Horford was fouled and made one of two free throws, Iverson drove for a quick basket to get Detroit within 97-95. Johnson, though, made two foul shots to push Atlanta's lead back to two possessions, and the Hawks held on for the win.
Neither team held a lead of more than five points in the first quarter, though that only came after Rasheed Wallace began the game with a three-pointer and a jumper. Atlanta responded with two baskets, and it was back-and-forth the rest of the way, as Murray's jumper just before the buzzer made it a 24-24 game going into the second.
The teams traded nine-point runs in the second quarter. The Pistons' came shortly into the frame, as they went up 33-26 after a Jason Maxiell bucket. But near the midway point, Atlanta ran off nine consecutive points, of which Johnson had five. Horford's dunk ended the run to give the Hawks a 37-36 edge, and Atlanta carried a 48-46 lead at halftime.
In a back-and-forth third quarter, Murray scored the final six Hawks points, including a three in the closing moments to boost Atlanta's lead to 76-68 heading into the fourth.
The Pistons made only 12-of-19 free throws, while the Hawks sank 19- of-23...Antonio McDyess added 10 points and 10 boards off the bench for Detroit, while Rodney Stuckey added 12 points...Horford had 15 points for the Hawks, while Marvin Williams ended with 11 points and eight rebounds.
02/12 00:13:44 ET