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Atlanta at Detroit

Hawks 99, Pistons 95

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- The Atlanta Hawks and Detroit Pistons are in unfamiliar territory.

Atlanta has its best record at the All-Star break in a decade while Detroit hasn't been this bad in several years.

Joe Johnson scored 27 points and Flip Murray had 23 Wednesday night, leading Atlanta to a 99-95 win over Detroit.

If the postseason started Wednesday, the Hawks would've hosted the Pistons, who don't seem equipped to handle Atlanta's energy, talent and offensive options.

Atlanta would win the tiebreaker, if it finishes the regular season tied with Detroit, because it has won two of the three scheduled meetings.

"It makes a big difference because the fourth seed gets home-court advantage," Murray said. "That makes this a big win."

The Hawks took the lead late for good in the third quarter, and after Detroit pulled within two with 9.4 seconds left, Johnson made two free throws to seal the win.

The Hawks (31-21) have won four of five, matching the most wins they've had going into All-Star weekend in a decade after pushing the Boston Celtics to the brink of elimination in the first round last year.

"That shows that we've got a lot of guys that are hungry last year after getting a taste of success in the first round against the world champs," coach Mike Woodson said.

Allen Iverson scored 26 for the Pistons, who fell a game under .500 since he joined the lineup.

"It's not a good feeling," Iverson said. "The whole thing is to stay positive, stay together, not to point fingers and play the blame game.

"You don't win a championship at the All-Star break."

In addition to Atlanta's 20-point scorers, Al Horford scored 15, Marvin Williams had 11 and Josh Smith added 10 to give the up-and-coming team balance offensively.

Detroit held Smith and Mike Bibby to less than half of their combined average, but didn't defend a former teammate very well.

"Flip Murray's 23 points were a killer," Pistons coach Michael Curry said.

The Pistons cut Murray nearly a year ago.

Detroit's Richard Hamilton scored 14, Rodney Stuckey and Tayshaun Prince each scored 12 and Antonio McDyess added 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Rasheed Wallace didn't play for the last 16-plus minutes and finished with nine points and seven rebounds.

"His knee was bothering him," Curry said.

Detroit (27-24) heads into the break after losing three straight, 12 of 17 and falling to 23-24 since Iverson joined the team in a trade for Chauncey Billups.

"I don't even pay attention to our record anymore," Hamilton said.

That's probably a good idea.

The Pistons, who won the NBA title five years ago during an active streak of six straight trips to the Eastern Conference finals, have their worst record at the break since 2002.

"I've never been in this situation before," said Prince, who was a rookie during the 2002-03 season.

The Hawks led 48-46 at halftime after 13 lead changes and six ties.

Atlanta started the fourth period with an eight-point lead, its largest, thanks to Murray making all four of his shots and scoring 10 points in the third.

"Flip had it going on, so I started running some set plays for him," Woodson said. "When a guy gets hot like that, you've got to milk it."

Notes

The Pistons are in danger of having consecutive losing months for the first time since 2001. ... Iverson played a day after missing a game with flulike symptoms, but said he still wasn't feeling well. "I don't have any energy," Iverson said before joining his team for pregame layups. After the game, he didn't feel much better. "I'm still real lightheaded," Iverson said. "I was dizzy at times and I actually threw up during a timeout." ... Atlanta beat the Pistons 85-78 at home on Dec. 21 and will host the series finale on March 7, going for a sweep. ... Wallace played one game for the Hawks in 2004 before he was traded to the Pistons and helped them win their third NBA title. ... Stuckey played a night after spraining his right ankle.

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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Scoreboard
Atlanta (31-21) «2424282399
Detroit (27-24) 2422222795
ATL:J. Johnson 27 Pts
ATL:M. Williams 8 Reb
ATL:J. Smith 7 Ast
DET:A. Iverson 28 Pts
DET:A. McDyess 10 Reb
DET:T. Prince 8 Ast
Players of the Game
DetroitAtlanta

A. Iverson

J. Johnson
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
28232734

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Atlanta
M. Bibby, PG381-52-20425
J. Johnson, SG3810-166-634227
J. Smith, SF355-120-277310
A. Horford, PF346-113-472215
M. Williams, SF324-92-280111
R. Murray, PG2910-182-331223
Z. Pachulia, C181-12-26124
M. Evans, SF161-22-21024
S. Claxton, PGDid Not Play
S. Jones, PFDid Not Play
R. Morris, CDid Not Play
A. Law, PGDid Not Play
T. Gardner, SGDid Not Play
M. West, SGDid Not Play
O. Hunter, SFDid Not Play
Totals 38-7419-2335191699
 51.4%82.6% 
Detroit
A. Iverson, SG4011-203-623328
T. Prince, SF384-104-658112
R. Stuckey, SG315-111-211412
R. Wallace, PF254-80-07009
A. Johnson, SF202-30-03144
R. Hamilton, SG316-162-245414
A. McDyess, PF284-52-3101110
J. Maxiell, PF173-50-04026
A. Afflalo, SG110-10-04030
K. Brown, CDid Not Play
A. Acker, GDid Not Play
W. Bynum, PGDid Not Play
W. Herrmann, SFDid Not Play
W. Sharpe, PFDid Not Play
Totals 39-7912-1940192295
 49.4%63.2% 
Other Games
Pho 92 Final
Cle 109
Den 82 Final
Orl 73
Mem 87 Final
Phi 91
SA 89 Final
Tor 91
Wash 89 Final
Char 101
Bos 89 Final
NO 77
Ind 110 Final
Mil 122
Sac 82 Final
Hou 94
LAL 109 Final
Utah 113
OKC 92 Final
Port 106
NY 124 Final
LAC 128