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Atlanta at Detroit

Billups' late free throw helps Pistons pull out narrow victory

CBSSports.com wire reports
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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- The Detroit Pistons expected Jason Maxiell to provide an undersized post presence off the bench.

They didn't know that Jarvis Hayes was going to do the same thing.

Maxiell and Hayes combined for 23 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter, to help the Pistons rally for a 92-91 victory over the Atlanta Hawks Sunday night.

"Our bench was great tonight," said Chauncey Billups, who hit the game-winning free throw with 1.7 seconds left. "Jarvis was hitting shots and Max was doing everything. He's our energizer."

Hayes was known as a jump shooter in Washington, but has shown a surprising inside game since joining the Pistons as a free agent.

"I had to pull something out of my bag of tricks to make it here," he said. "I knew I could do this."

Maxiell finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and four blocks on a night when the Pistons only had two starters in double figures. Billups finished with 22 points and Richard Hamilton added 21 in his season debut, but Tayshaun Prince, Rasheed Wallace and Antonio McDyess combined for just 20 points on 7-for-23 shooting.

"This was Rip's first game, and he's got so much energy that I think we got discombobulated trying to keep up with him," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. "He was great, but he missed the last four preseason games and the first two of the regular season, so we had to get used to his energy again."

Atlanta led by nine points entering the fourth, but trailed by seven with a minute to play before rallying to tie the game.

"That's the best team in the East we played tonight, and we hung in there," Atlanta coach and former Pistons assistant Mike Woodson said. "We'll bounce back, but tonight they made the plays down the stretch and we didn't."

Two 3-pointers by Joe Johnson pulled the Hawks to 89-88 with 40 seconds to go, but Hayes grabbed a key offensive rebound and Billups made it a 3-point game from the line.

Rasheed Wallace then fouled Josh Smith on a desperate 3-point attempt, and Smith hit all three free throws to make it 91-all with 7.7 seconds left.

Billups was fouled by Marvin Williams on a drive to the basket, and hit the first free throw. He missed the second, but Atlanta couldn't get a shot off before the buzzer.

"This was tough, because we fought so hard," said Johnson, who led the Hawks with 23. "We were up, but they turned up the pressure and got back in the game. We had a chance, and it was a tough call at the end."

The Hawks took a 48-45 lead on Williams' long 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer. Williams had 13 of his 22 points in the half, while Hamilton scored 14 for Detroit.

Atlanta expanded its edge to 69-60 in the third period, thanks to an eight-point quarter by Johnson.

The Pistons cut the deficit to 73-72 in the first four minutes of the fourth, and the teams traded baskets until Billups put Detroit ahead 78-77 with a fast-break layup with 5:51 to go.

Wallace followed with a jumper as the shot clock expired, but Hamilton fouled out with 4:12 to go.

"Our bench got us back in the game in the fourth quarter, and that let our starters relax," Saunders said. "They were able to get their composure, come back in and finish off the game."

Notes

  • Hamilton missed the first two games of the season while attending the birth of his son.
  • Pistons G Flip Murray made a fourth-quarter free throw despite the distraction of a steam cannon going off behind the basket as he was shooting. The device had been used moments earlier during a performance by the Detroit dance team.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Chauncey Billups scores 22 points and dishes out five assists in the Pistons' victory. (AP)
Chauncey Billups scores 22 points and dishes out five assists in the Pistons' victory. (AP)
Scoreboard
Atlanta (1-1) 1929212291
Detroit (3-0) «2421153292
ATL:J. Johnson 23 Pts
ATL:A. Horford 11 Reb
ATL:J. Johnson 4 Ast
DET:C. Billups 22 Pts
DET:A. McDyess 9 Reb
DET:C. Billups 5 Ast
Players of the Game
DetroitAtlanta

J. Maxiell

J. Smith
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
158213102

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Atlanta
J. Johnson, SG409-173-454223
M. Williams, SF398-125-662522
J. Smith, SF394-175-5102213
A. Horford, PF361-61-211223
T. Lue, PG262-72-21306
J. Childress, SG253-51-11127
A. Law, PG225-60-000111
S. Williams, PF141-24-67126
A. Johnson, PGDid Not Play
L. Wright, CDid Not Play
S. Claxton, PGDid Not Play
Z. Pachulia, CDid Not Play
S. Stoudamire, SGDid Not Play
S. Jones, PFDid Not Play
M. West, PGDid Not Play
Totals 33-7221-2641151691
 45.8%80.8% 
Detroit
R. Wallace, PF373-122-45538
C. Billups, PG367-175-635022
T. Prince, SF362-93-45418
R. Hamilton, SG3410-151-145621
A. McDyess, PF292-20-09444
J. Maxiell, PF267-111-282115
J. Hayes, SF204-70-01028
R. Murray, PG122-62-42116
A. Afflalo, SG60-10-00010
N. Mohammed, C40-10-00010
L. Hunter, SGDid Not Play
R. Dupree, SFDid Not Play
A. Johnson, SFDid Not Play
C. Samb, CDid Not Play
R. Stuckey, SGDid Not Play
Totals 37-8114-2137262092
 45.7%66.7% 
Other Games
Bos 98 Final
Tor 95
Sea 101 Final
LAC 115
Char 90 Final
Mia 88
Min 93 Final
NY 97
NO 93 Final
Den 88
Cle 92 Final
Pho 103
Utah 109 Final
LAL 119