Grant Hill had a simple explanation for how the Detroit Pistons overcame a one-point halftime deficit to bury the Atlanta Hawks 93-77 Tuesday night for their fourth victory in a row.
"We just played hard" after halftime, said Hill, who led the Pistons with 28 points. "When we play hard and we play together, we usually win. And we did that in the second half."
Lindsey Hunter added 21 points for the Pistons, who went ahead to stay when Hill converted a three-point play with 7:38 left in the third period for a 48-46 lead.
Steve Smith scored seven of his 18 points over the next three minutes to keep the Hawks close, but the Pistons opened the final period with an 8-0 run that stretched the lead to 73-60 with 10:08 left.
The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for the Hawks.
"I know they're hot, but we feel like we're a hot team, too," Hill said.
"The second half I thought we came out and played with a lot of energy," Pistons coach Alvin Gentry said, adding that Hill "just controlled the game for us."
The Hawks closed to 73-64 on a dunk by Dikembe Mutumbo before Hill took over, scoring 10 of Detroit's next 14 points. The Pistons took an 86-66 lead on a pair of free throws by Jerome Williams with 4:29 remaining.
The Hawks were coming off a Monday night victory at Indiana. Coach Lenny Wilkens said that contributed to his team's loss.
"We ran out of gas," Wilkens said. "The schedule caught us. We've been playing hard lately. We just didn't have the legs. And everything was short. So that's one we have to wash away. Toss it out and move on."
Christian Laettner scored 12 points for Detroit. Chris Crawford had 11 and Ed Gray 10 for the Hawks.
Both teams shot poorly, with the Pistons hitting only 44 percent from the field and the Hawks 39 percent. Atlanta als shot only 55 percent from the foul line, hitting 17 of 31 free throws. Notes: The Hawks played their second straight game without point guard Mookie Blaylock, who was out with the flu. ... Jerry Stackhouse, Detroit's second-leading scorer, missed the game with a sprained right ankle. ...The victory squared the season series at 1-1. The Hawks won at Detroit 85-72 earlier this season. ... The Hawks entered the game leading the NBA in scoring defense, allowing 83.9 points per game. ... The Pistons scored only 11 points in the second quarter, a season low for an Atlanta opponent. ... It was only the second time in 17 games that the Hawks have lost when leading at the half (37-36).
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