So this is what it feels like to recap a win? In the words of Larry David, "pretty, pretty, pretty good."
The Pistons put an end to their seven game losing streak today by defeating the 12-4, now 12-5, Atlanta Hawks 94-88 at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Detroit has now defeated Atlanta in 24 of their last 28 games played at the Palace.
Coach John Kuester unveiled a new starting lineup today to re-adjust to the loss of Ben Gordon and right the ship after losing their seventh straight game on Friday night, to the Clippers no less. Chucky Atkins and Jason Maxiell started in place of Austin Daye and Charlie Villanueva, providing the Pistons with a little more ferocity up front and a point guard so the talented Rodney Stuckey could play off the ball a little more.
And it worked wonders in the first quarter. Stuckey made all five of his shots en route to 11 points, giving the Pistons a two point lead after 12 minutes. He finished with a game-high 23 points and was still able to dish out eight assists. I don't know if this was a result of him starting at the two, but he played noticeably better today than in the other games this season.
Chucky Atkins had this to offer about Stuckey after the game:
I think today by me starting and by me running the squad, and just have him mainly think about scoring and put the pressure on an opposing team defense was great. He led us to a great victory, more importantly Will Bynum came out and gave us a huge lift and finished out the fourth quarter for us."
The major story though was the Pistons endless hustle and absolute domination on the glass. The Pistons nearly doubled the Hawks total rebound total, 53-27, and quadrupled them on the offensive glass, 24-6. Who said the Pistons would have problems on the glass this year?
Ben Wallace led the way with 18 rebounds, 11 offensive, to go along with his 10 points. Jonas Jerebko also had his first career double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. As a result of the Pistons tenacious rebounding, they managed to outscore the Hawks 60-38 in the paint and get to the line eight more times than the Hawks.
The Hawks hung around despite there being runs that made it seem like the Pistons would run away with this thing. They led by as many as 12 late in the game, but Atlanta worked the game back to within two with 25 seconds left in the game. Will Bynum was then fouled and knocked down both free throws to give him 11 points in the fourth quarter and extend the lead to four.
On the ensuing possession, Atlanta's Josh Smith came down and took an ill-advised three pointer that was corralled by Jerebko, which all but sealed the deal. Josh Smith is a big-time player, but I'd want the ball in Crawford (who hit two big threes earlier in the game) or Bibby's (3-5 from downtown) hands when needing a three (which was arguably not needed at that juncture). Smith led the Hawks with 23 points, seven rebounds, and five blocks.
Pistons improve to 6-11 with the much-needed victory. Bullets after the jump!
- Ben Wallace's damage extended beyond the boards: His hip broke Charlie Villanueva's nose. Charlie Villanueva was fouled by Zach Pachulia, which sent him crashing into Wallace's side and breaking his nose. Villanueva was able to stop the bleeding enough to allow him to knock down two critical free throws, but he was immediately replaced by Jason Maxiell. Villanueva will have the nose set tomorrow and his status for Wednesday will then be re-evaluated. CV31 says he'll tweet during his surgery and a mask is on the way.
- Jason Maxiell's play continues to strengthen. He's been a force on the boards and he's starting to knock down that jumper from the elbow with some consistency. He finished with seven points, six rebounds, and two steals in just under 30 minutes.
- Atkins wasn't very good today, but I still like him starting over Bynum. Bynum provides a spark off the bench like none other and don't think he's as scary or effective if he starts. Obviously, we won't know unless Bynum gets some starts, but that's just my opinion. I like Stuckey at the two, but not at the expense of starting Bynum and losing his impact off the bench. I'd be willing to test it out though. But with the win here today, I think the same starting lineup should take the floor on Wednesday. How's that cliche go? If it ain't broke don't fix it? Atkins was broke today, but the Pistons clicked as a whole.
- Kwame Brown seems to be very productive when he gets 15-20 minutes. I thought he had what was probably his strongest game this season even if his stat line only reads eight points and five rebounds. His usual clumsiness only resulted in one turnover and he made up for it immediately by hustling down the court and swiping a pass.
- Pistons kept Joe Johnson in check today, which will probably get overlooked in determining what went wrong for the Hawks today. He shot just 5-19 and finished with 10 points. If he hits a few more shots, the Hawks might walk away with an undeserving victory.
- Post game quotes
- Peachtree Hoops recap -- Hawks were lousy.
- Box score