The Atlanta Hawks had a nailbiter at Philips Arena on Wednesday night against the Detroit Pistons. It wasn't supposed to be that way, as the Hawks held a commanding lead before finally prevailing in double overtime, 126-119.
The Hawks were able to ride Josh Smith through the first three quarters, as he put up 30 of his 31 points on 13-for-18 shooting during the first three periods. However, Smoove (1 point in the fourth quarter and both overtimes) and the rest of the Hawks let Detroit back into the game with missed free throws, poor shot selection, and bad fouls to let the Pistons take the lead with four seconds left in regulation on an Austin Daye three-pointer.
On the ensuing possession, Al Horford drove to the basket and drew a foul to go to the line. Rodney Stuckey had to leave the game after rolling his ankle on the play, icing Horford a bit. Horford made one of two shots to send the game into overtime with a 101-101 tie.
The Hawks led by as many as 22 points before letting Detroit back into the game. Detroit outscored Atlanta 39-20 in the fourth quarter as the Hawks could not stop the Pistons at either end of the floor in the fourth quarter. The Pistons' bench was huge in the comeback, as four reserves scored in double figures.
In overtime. Andre Drummond (16 pts/12 boards) gave the Pistons an early lead with two free throws. Al Horford (22 points, 8 rebounds) went to the line again, and this time missed both free throws, perhaps remembering his miss at the end of regulation that forced the Hawks into overtime. The teams traded misses until Lou Williams nailed a three to give Atlanta back the lead with 2:45 left in overtime.
After Williams' three, Will Bynum took over again and almost finished the Hawks off single-handedly. He hit a free throw, a floater in the lane, and a reverse layup to give Detroit a 108-104 lead, eventually finishing with 31 points. The Hawks tied it with a minute left on a Horford jumper and two Jeff Teague free throws. The teams traded defensive stops, until Smith cleanly stopped Bynum from making a layup in the waning seconds. Kyle Korver (2-for-11 shooting) grabbed the rebound with 3.3 seconds, and after a timeout Smith was unable to hit a contested 10-footer in the lane, sending the game to double-overtime at 108-108.
In the second overtime, the Hawks' guards took over the shooting responsibilities, as Lou Williams (18 pts, 8 boards, 7 assists), Korver, and Jeff Teague (17 pts, 11 assists) combined for all of Atlanta's 18 points. Williams drew a key charging foul from Rodney Stuckey which set up a Teague basket, Teague rolled off seven straight points, and Korver hit a three after struggling mightily in the rest of the game to ice it for Atlanta.
The Hawks moved to 17-9 on the year, and get a day off tomorrow before traveling to Cleveland Friday night. The Pistons fell to 9-22 (including 3-14 on the road) and have a day off before hosting Miami on Friday night.