Comeback Win

Pistons snap skid, ride 4 double-doubles in beating undermanned Hawks


The story of the game in Pistons red, white and blue

WHITE HOT – Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond, Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings all recorded double-doubles as the Pistons came back from a double-digits deficit to beat Atlanta 115-107 and snap a three-game losing streak. The Hawks scored 41 points and shot 85 percent in the second quarter to take an 11-point halftime lead. Monroe (22 points, 15 rebounds) and Drummond (20 points, 11 rebounds) both registered 20 and 10 games and the Pistons overwhelmed the undermanned Hawks, who played without Al Horford and Jeff Teague. Kyle Singler hit a triple with 1:54 to play to break a 104-all tie and Will Bynum converted a three-point play on the next possession to give the Pistons their biggest lead of the night at six points. Singler added a clinching triple with 30 seconds to play as he finished with 18 points.

BLUE COLLAR – Pistons point guards Brandon Jennings and Will Bynum didn’t have big scoring nights but they combined for 21 assists against only three turnovers to lead an efficient offense. Jennings missed his first eight shots, but he had 12 assists by halftime. All of his 12 points came in a third-quarter flurry. Jennings finished with 12 points, 14 assists and a single turnover and Bynum with nine points, seven assists and two turnovers.

RED FLAG – The Pistons, who have been last in the NBA in foul shooting for virtually the entire season, struggled especially badly in Friday’s loss. Andre Drummond shot 0 of 8, including four straight misses when Atlanta intentionally fouled him in the fourth quarter, and the team finished 13 of 29 at the line. Even though the Pistons finished with nine more attempts at the line than Atlanta, they were outscored by a point.

When John Loyer was an assistant coach on Philadelphia’s bench, one of the players he worked out daily was Kyle Korver. Before Friday’s game with Korver’s Atlanta Hawks, with whom he this season has established a new NBA record for consecutive games with at least one 3-pointer made at 123 and counting, Loyer said he considers Korver “the best shooter in the game today.”

By the end of the game – a desperately needed 115-107 Pistons win to snap a three-game skid – Korver wasn’t the best-shooting Kyle in the NBA.

That would have been Kyle Singler, who made 4 of 6 3-pointers to Korver’s 2 of 6 and finished with 20 points, including two dagger triples in the final two minutes.

“It felt great to be in that position,” Singler said. “To be in that moment was awesome and to knock down those shots was great for the team.”

But an hour or so earlier, all of Atlanta’s team was challenging for all-time shooting accolades. The Hawks made an astounding 17 of 20 shots in the second quarter – that’s 85 percent for all you math loathers – and scored on 19 of 21 possessions, including 16 straight.

“I knew they scored 41 points,” Loyer said at hearing the bald numbers. “I really didn’t know it was that bad. I mean, it was bad. But teams are good. This team right here can make shots. They have an All-Star in (Paul) Millsap. They can spread the floor. Shelvin Mack was terrific tonight. We didn’t play with the emotion, the fire that you need to play on a nightly basis.”

"Winning cures all. We can use this as a stepping stone."

- Will Bynum on the game
Full game quotes
The Atlanta team that hung 41 on the board in the second quarter and took an 11-point lead to its locker room at halftime was one that limped into The Palace on a seven-game losing streak and minus centerpiece Al Horford and emerging point guard Jeff Teague, leading a long list of wounded.

Which made things in the other locker room a little uncomfortable.

“I told our guys at halftime, we were hoping they missed in the first half and you can’t hope teams miss,” Loyer said. “Good shooters – Lou Williams (another Philly understudy of Loyer’s), Kyle Korver, as good a shooters as I’ve ever coached. And our guys went out in the second half and made ’em miss. I’ll give our guys a lot of credit. We showed a lot of guts, a lot of determination. You could go out there and kind of play hard but not play well. Our guys played hard and played well.”

Bynum, whose role has steadied since Loyer replaced Mo Cheeks as head coach, gave credit to Loyer’s halftime frankness for awakening the Pistons.

“He pretty much got into us and let us know we have to buckle down individually and get stops and put that effort in,” Bynum said.

And after the 41-point second quarter, the Hawks were limited to a 44-point second half during which they made just 14 baskets and shot 32 percent while allowing the Pistons to score a dozen points off of seven turnovers.

“They were on fire, but we weren’t really playing any defense,” Singler said of Atlanta’s second quarter. “Maybe half of those were layups. I thought our play picked up in the third quarter. We were pressing them and we just turned them over and it created tempo. You could feel the energy in the gym pick up. It was a fun game to play in.”

The Pistons picked up a few floor burns in the third quarter – “We made two or three hustle plays that winning teams make,” Loyer said – and an open-court steal and highlight-reel dunk from Andre Drummond sent the bench into hysterics, shaking the Pistons from the paralysis that seemed to grip them in back-to-back losses to Charlotte coming out of the All-Star break.

Those losses imperiled their playoff hopes, pushing them 2½ games behind the Bobcats for the No. 8 playoff seed. But the win over Atlanta opened up a new possibility as the sinking Hawks are now just three games ahead of the Pistons in the loss column.

“My and Kyle diving on the court, it was just the little things that have a trickle-down effect on everybody,” Bynum said. “It lifts everybody up. That’s the kind of spirit we have to have to make the playoffs.”

Bynum finished with nine points, seven assists and two turnovers in 23 minutes. Loyer rode him down the stretch on a night Brandon Jennings finished with 14 assists against just one turnover and came alive with all 12 of his points in the third quarter after he missed his first eight shots.

“I thought Will attacked downhill all night,” Loyer said. “I just thought Will had a nice rhythm, nice flow. Sometimes you have a feel. It was my feel to leave him in. It turned out right tonight.”

And we got this far without mentioning that Drummond (20 points, 11 boards), Greg Monroe (22 points, 15 boards) and Josh Smith (17 points, 10 boards) joined Jennings with double-doubles and Rodney Stuckey made it six Pistons in double figures with a dozen off the bench. Everybody left The Palace feeling a little bit better about the possibilities for the season’s final 27 games.

“I’ve got confidence in our guys,” Loyer said. “I know what’s inside them. It’s just my job, and as a group, we’ve got to keep pulling it out. I’ll give them all credit. They kind of looked at each other at halftime and said, ‘We’re going to step it up a notch.’ And we stepped it up two or three notches defensively in the second half.”