AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Feb. 2 (Ticker) --
A meeting with the league's
second-best defensive team resulted in the expected for the
continued his recent success from the arc and
provided stellar defense as the Detroit Pistons
extended their winning streak to five games with a 99-84 triumph
over the Hawks, who have lost 11 straight road games.
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Allowing just 88.4 points per game this season, the Pistons came
out flat and trailed throughout the first quarter, ending the
period with a 26-23 deficit. But after Tony Delk's
6 1/2 minutes to go in the second gave Atlanta a 40-32
advantage, Billups began Detroit's comeback with his second
3-pointer of the game.
"We had the game under control," Atlanta guard Tyronn Lue
"Then they took away what we do best - the pick-and-roll."
"They took us out of some of the things that we were doing well
early," Hawks coach Mike Woodson
added. "They took us out of it
and we didn't recover."
Billups, who had made at least four 3-pointers eight previous
times this season, was on the mark in this one, going 5-of-7
from the arc. He capped the Pistons' 17-0 run with another
3-pointer with two seconds left in the second quarter, giving
Detroit a 49-40 cushion.
"We were a little sluggish at the start, but when we got warmed
up, we turned the game around," Billups said. "We got control
and kept control."
"I thought right before the half is what killed the game,"
Woodson said. "It wasn't out of reach, but they took the
momentum of the game right to the end."
The Pistons opened the second half with a 14-6 spurt that made
it 63-46, and Wallace did the rest, collecting 10 rebounds and
blocking four shots - two more than Atlanta, which entered
averaging 90.8 points per game, 28th in the NBA.
"It's hard to score against their half-court defense," said Lue,
who was 4-of-12 for 10 points. "That's what they do best.
They turned the defense up and we couldn't score and they got
some easy baskets in the transition."
"It was the same old story," Billups said. "We let our defense
be our best offense. We got stops and then got out and got the
Detroit outscored Atlanta, 26-9, on fast break points, something
Wallace also cited as a key to the Pistons' success.
"If we get fast-break baskets and get a chance to set up on
defense, I like our chances," he said. "When we get rolling on
defense, everybody gets involved on offense."
Billups had 27 points and six assists, Richard Hamilton
21 points and Tayshaun Prince
added 17 for Detroit, which led by
as many as 19.
"I'm feeding off of everybody," said Billups, who scored 28
points against Washington on Tuesday. "Everybody makes it easy.
When a guy's shot is dropping, everybody finds him. That's
the way this team is, they find the guy who's hot."
Delk scored 20 points off the bench and Antoine Walker
in 13 and 10 rebounds for the Hawks, who are winless on the road
since an 88-72 victory here December 10.
"It's difficult when you play like that," Walker said. "I
thought that we had so many opportunities when we went down the
court and didn't score. It's tough to try and beat a team like
Detroit when playing like that."