Atlanta's Joe Johnson is averaging 24.3 PPG on 50 percent shooting in three games at the two, as opposed to 13.5 PPG on 36 percent shooting at the one.
GAME OF THE NIGHT
The Pistons' attempt at starting the season 5-0 didn't look promising with 4:56 remaining and Detroit down 100-94 to the Suns in Phoenix. But Richard Hamilton and Chauncey Billups would not be denied. Hamilton, whose 3-pointer with 4:32 left kicked off a 17-4 run to cap the game, hit two straight jumpers to give the Pistons a 106-104 lead with 59 seconds to go. On Detroit's next possession, Billups buried a trey to put the Pistons up by five and seal the dramatic come-from-behind win.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
"Can you believe it? I can."
- A confident Sam Cassell, whose Clippers jumped to the top of the Western Conference with their 102-95 win over the Hawks. At 5-1, Los Angeles is off to its best start since the 1985-86 season.
STORYLINES OF THE NIGHT
1. Break Up the Clippers Sam Cassell has the Clippers cruising along in the early portion of the season. The veteran point guard has brought steady scoring and, more importantly, a strong veteran presence to a young and talented team. With Thursday's 102-95 triumph at Atlanta, the Clippers are off to their best start in 20 years. Cassell scored 21 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out nine assists in the win.
2. Sibling Rivalry
Brothers Stan and Jeff Van Gundy squared off Thursday with their head-to-head series tied at two games apiece. Jeff and the Rockets took a four-point lead into the fourth quarter before clutch shooting by Stan's guards gave the Heat an 88-84 victory. With the Miami win, older brother Stan pulled ahead of kid brother Jeff, who celebrated his 43rd birthday on Wednesday. All of a sudden, the desk lamp and socks your brother gave you on your birthday don't seem so bad in comparison.
Not a lot has gone right for the Hawks so far this season; Thursday's 102-95 loss to the Clippers dropped them to 0-5. But rookie forward Marvin Williams continued to show signs of improvement, scoring 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting. He also blocked a pair of shots.
Jason Williams had just two points heading into the fourth quarter on Thursday, but erupted for 11 down the stretch as the Heat beat the Rockets 88-84. Williams' 3-pointer from the left corner with 2:16 to play made it an 81-77 game, icing it for the Heat.