After tonight's twenty-point performance, you should be smiling, Austin. - Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
On Star Wars night at The Palace, the force was with the Pistons, who withstood a fourth quarter surge and found a way to pull out the victory.
Fortuitously, the referees reviewed the play and saw something I certainly didn't: Horford's toe on the line. It was ruled a two-point basket.
Yes, the force was truly with the Pistons this night ... or not.
On the ensuing inbounds play, the Pistons turned it over, the Hawks ran a successful inbounds play finding Lou Williams in the corner for a seemingly open 3.
Yes, the force was truly with the Pistons. Andre Drummond closed the gap like only a handful of NBA players are capable of doing and got fingertips on the shot attempt, which fell well short as time expired.
Kudos to Atlanta for doing its best to flip the script on the Pistons. The Pistons had their way through three quarters, taking a 74-62 lead into the final period. However, after nearly blowing a their own double-digit lead to Detroit only a week ago on their home floor, Atlanta knew the game was still in reach. And they played like it.
Thanks to some defensive heroics from the aforementioned Andre Drummond, as well as Jason Maxiel, however, Detroit managed to stop the blooding and come away with the victory.
Austin Daye - yes, that Austin Daye - led the Pistons with 20 points on 9-11 shooting, and he also snagged 6 boards. Moose just missed another double double, scoring 18, grabbing 9, and swiping 3 steals. Maxiel did finish with a double double (10 and 10), and Drummond had 6 points, 9 boards, and 2 blocks in just under 20 minutes. All the Pistons perimeter players not named Austin Daye struggled mightily, as the box score illustrates.
Atlanta's Al Horford had his own double double by halftime and finished with 18 points and 15 boards on an efficient 9-13 shooting. Josh Smith added 20 points and 2 blocks, but was kept off the glass and in foul trouble. Lou Williams was defended well most of the night, but still managed 17 and 8, thanks in large part to a nice fourth quarter.
At the team level, Atlanta finished the game outshooting the Pistons, barely, 41.3% to 41.2%, but Detroit dominated on the glass (56-38) and took better care of the ball, committing 13 turnovers to Atlanta's 17.
Official box score here for the stat heads like me.