Who?: Atlanta Hawks (17-9) vs Detroit Pistons (9-22)
What?: Hawks survives double-overtime scare, outlast Pistons 126-119
Where?: Philips Arena (Atlanta, GA)
When?: Wednesday, Dec. 226, 2012
In a wild affair in Philips Arena on Wednesday night, the Atlanta Hawks escaped with a 126-119 double-overtime victory over the Detroit Pistons. The craziest part of the game was the fact that Atlanta led by 21 points (89-68) with 9:21 remaining in the game, only to allow Detroit all the way back to force overtime after an Austin Daye three-pointer and Al Horford converting 1 of 2 free throws late in regulation. Will Bynum was the story of the night for either team, as the Pistons guard went absolutely nuts and finished with 31 points off the bench including a barrage of offense during the 4th quarter comeback.
The Atlanta Hawks almost let up a colossal collapse against the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night by blowing a 22-point fourth quarter lead and getting forced into two overtime periods before pulling out a 126-119 victory.
Atlanta led 84-62 with 11:42 in the fourth quarter but Detroit came storming back with a 3-point shooting stampede, knocking down five straight in a four minute span to cut the deficit down to 94-77 with 6:35 remaining.
The Pistons got it down to single-digits, 99-90, with 2:47 left and continued to scrap away, shockingly putting themselves in position to win the game in regulation after running off a 11-0 spurt as Will Bynum found teammate Austin Daye for the go-ahead 3-pointer with 4 ticks left on the clock.
After an Atlanta timeout, Al Horford drew a foul on Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva and went to the foul-line with a chance to win the game, down by one with just one second left. If Al makes both, Hawks win.
But Al didn’t make both.
He hit the first free-throw and choked on the second attempt.
In the first OT, Bynum scored five straight points to give Detroit control of a 108-104 advantage but Horford made a layup and Jeff Teague sank two foul-shots to bring the Hawks back to tie the game.
Bynum and Josh Smith both had chances to hit the game-winning shot in the closing seconds but Bynum’s nice cross over layup was too strong off the backboard and Smith’s 11-ft attempt hit the front rim and bounced off as time expired.
After toying with the Pistons for FAR too long, the Hawks pulled away in OT #2 as sharp-shooter Kyle Korver delivered a dagger of a 3-pointer and helped Atlanta ice the game down the stretch.
Korver and Teague each hit a pair of foul-shots in the closing seconds to secure the 126-119 victory.
Atlanta was dominated on the boards (62-47) but had more assists (35-21) and fast break points (36-9) than Detroit.
Will Bynum powered the Pistons with 31 points off the bench — he only had 5 points entering the fourth quarter. Andre Drummond (16), Rodney Stuckey (16), Charlie Villanueva (14), Tayshaun Prince (14) and Greg Monroe (10) also scored in double-figures.
Josh Smith led the Hawks with 31 points and 10 rebounds. Al Horford (22), Lou Williams (18), Jeff Teague (17) and Anthony Morrow (16) were also in double-figures.
Atlanta visits the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, Dec. 28. Tip-off at 7:30 PM (ET).
Minutes: Josh Smith (48)
Points: Josh Smith & Rodney Stuckey (31)
Rebounds: Andre Drummond (12)
Assists: Jeff Teague & Rodney Stuckey (11)
Steals: Five tied with (2)
Blocks: Three tied with (2)
Jeff Teague: C+
It seems pretty harsh to give a guy who just put up 17 points and 11 assists a “C” (average) grade, but that’s where we’re headed with Teague. I thought he was mediocre at best for the better part of 4 quarters, and while the 11 assists are stellar, they came with 4 turnovers, and some questionable decision-making throughout. He gets the “plus” for his big free throws late, but let’s also not forget that he was repeatedly torched by Will Bynum in the 4th quarter.
Lou Williams: B
This was such a Lou Williams game. He finished with 17 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists and made a huge three in the first OT. It wasn’t Lou’s most efficient game, but he didn’t kill the Hawks anywhere, and I thought he was the more effective point guard for much of the night.
Kyle Korver: C-
Rough night for Kyle. It’s hard to overlook when he shoots 2-11 from the field (and 2-9 on threes), but I did think Korver made some positive plays at times. His defense is consistently undervalued, and while he’s never going to be great on that end, his effort is consistent and he’s not a liability like he was advertised as prior to the season. Also, Korver made a giant dagger three in the 2nd OT.
Josh Smith: B
Such a weird performance. I thought Josh was absolutely tremendous (and that’s hard for me to say) for the first three quarters. He shot 13-17, scoring 30 points, and while he did take 2 ill-advised and contested jump shots, it was easy to overlook in favor of his deft play around the rim, and some tremendous interior passing. Then, the fourth quarter and overtime happened. Josh shot 0-4 in the 4th and 0-4 combined in the two overtime frames, and was basically a disaster. Three of his jump shots failed to draw rim, and it looked like he ran out of gas completely. I settled on a B simply because he was awesome for 3 quarters, but this was an A+ that torpedoed into a B.
Al Horford: B+
By default, Horford grabs the best grade of the starters despite playing only an average game for him. Al finished with 22 and 10 in 42 minutes, and while he wasn’t spectacular, he made all of the plays that he always makes, and was the stabilizing force on the interior all night. It was the opposite of Josh Smith’s night, as Horford didn’t give us much “peak” on Wednesday, but there was no floor, either.
Anthony Morrow: A
16 points in 18 minutes will garner you the best grade on the team. Morrow shot 6-10 from the field including 3-5 on threes, and this was the best of Morrow. I would’ve liked to have seen more of him in the 2nd half, and this is yet another example of how dangerous he is offensively.
Deshawn Stevenson: C+
26 minutes. 7 shot attempts. 6 three-point attempts. Solid defense. What is there to say about Stevenson? He did seem more perturbed than normal after being missed on a few ball reversals, but that simply led to a couple of quick trigger threes that weren’t needed. His shot selection is bad at times, but he’s still the best wing defender on the team. It’s a shame that Will Bynum isn’t a wing.
Zaza Pachulia: C-
Not a great Zaza game. Only 4 rebounds in 22 minutes and he didn’t provide much offense, either. The Hawks were definitely better defensively with him on the court, but it was an underwhelming performance.
Larry Drew: B
I didn’t love the 5-man units that Drew deployed in the second half. He left Teague on Bynum for way too long, played Stevenson in some weird, non-defensive situations, and I hated the iso-call for Josh on the final possession of the 1st overtime. That said, it says something positive about your coach when you can blow a 25-point lead, and maintain composure enough mentally to come back and win in overtime. Kudos.
Player of the Game
Despite being on the losing end, Will Bynum is definitely the player of the game after leading the charge for the Detroit Pistons in the fourth quarter comeback and helping force multiple overtimes in a game that the Hawks should have been won handily.
Bynum entered the fourth quarter with just five points but caught fire thereafter and finished with a game-high 31 points.
Plays of the Game
The Hawks go on the road to play the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, Dec 28, at 7:30 PM (ET).
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