Atkins and his teammates took that to the limit Wednesday night.
Atkins hit six 3-pointers and scored 23 points as the Pistons beat the Seattle SuperSonics 95-91.
"I was just out there shooting what they were giving us," Atkins said. "They were laying off of me, and after I hit a couple, I got a lot of confidence. I've been working on my shot, and I'm starting to really feel comfortable about it."
Detroit attempted a franchise-record 32 3-pointers, although only Atkins had any accuracy. He shot 6-of-10 from beyond the arc, while his teammates went 3-of-22.
"They play a lot of junk defense, so you would end up with a forward on a guard," said Jon Barry, who was 1-of-6 on 3-pointers. "So the shots were there, but Chucky was the only one making them. I stunk and so did Jerry (Stackhouse). But Chucky saved us."
Atkins was filling in for injured point guard Dana Barros
(hamstring) and also taking up some of Jerry Stackhouse's load.
Stackhouse, slowed by a groin pull, had 19 points and matched his career high with 11 assists. His biggest play was a game-tying 3-pointer with two minutes to play. That 3-pointer came after he missed his first 10 attempts of the game.
"I got a new appreciation for Jerry Stackhouse tonight," Pistons coach Rick Carlisle said. "He told me today that he was no more than 85 percent, but he went out there and got people the ball and hit a big shot at the end. That was a courageous effort."
Corliss Williamson added 17 points for Detroit, 10 in the fourth quarter.
"We just made too many mistakes at the end," Payton said. "If we had just kept our composure and executed, we would have been OK."
Detroit has won seven of the last nine meetings between the
teams. The Sonics lost their third straight on the road.
Seattle led 19-5, but the Pistons pulled to 49-47 at the half.
Detroit's final two points came when Barry rebounded Stackhouse's
miss and hit an arching jumper at the buzzer.
Detroit started the second half with an 8-2 run that included
two 3-pointers by Atkins, and only a pair of 3s by Brent Barry kept Seattle in the game. Atkins finished with five 3-pointers in the
quarter, one short of Allan Houston's team record, helping the Pistons take a 75-73 lead into the final period.
"I'm a firm believer in the 3-pointer," Carlisle said. "If a guy has a good look, I'd want him to take it. We set a record tonight, but we will break it again pretty soon. Tonight, it was Chucky who got hot and saved us when we were dangling off the edge."
Williamson scored the first four points of the fourth, expanding
Detroit's margin to six at 79-73. The SuperSonics failed to score
in the first 3:12 of the period.
Detroit led by as many as seven, but the SuperSonics rallied to
tie it at 83 on Brent Barry's three-point play with 4:58 to go.
Two baskets by Payton helped Seattle go up 90-87, but Stackhouse tied it with the 3-pointer with two minutes left.
Seattle's Vin Baker missed two free throws on the next possession, but Stackhouse turned the ball over.
Payton missed, but Baker grabbed the rebound and the Pistons
fouled rookie Vladimir Radmanovic, who hit on of two free throws.
Williamson's layup put the Pistons up 92-91 with 45 seconds left. After Baker missed, Atkins hit a throw.
That gave Seattle a chance to tie, but Baker couldn't handle
Radmanovic's pass, and Stackhouse iced the game with two free
"You miss free throws and you have 20 turnovers and the result
is usually going to be a loss," Seattle coach Nate McMillian said.
"We allowed them to stay around in the second half, and then we
didn't make the plays that were necessary to win the game. So we go
home with an L."
Carlisle spent the 1999-2000 season as a broadcaster for
the SuperSonics. ... Payton's 15 rebounds were one short of his
career high. ... McMillian picked up a third-quarter technical foul
for arguing with referee Violet Palmer. Payton received one from
Hue Hollins in the fourth. ... The win improved Jon Barry's record
to 9-3 against his brother, Brent.
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