Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 12/7

Game 1: Saturday, December 7th
Game 2: Wednesday, December 11th
Game 3: Saturday, January 4th
Game 4: Wednesday, March 26th

Pistons 90

(21-10, 9-7 away)

Hawks 86

(12-20, 10-6 home)

    7:00 PM ET, January 4, 2003

    Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA

    1 2 3 4 T
    DET 27 15 24 2490
    ATL 26 16 20 2486

    Top Performers

    Detroit: C. Billups 23 Pts, 2 Reb, 1 Ast

    Atlanta: G. Robinson 24 Pts, 6 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    Streaking Pistons deal Hawks fourth loss in row

    ATLANTA (AP) -- The Detroit Pistons were outrebounded and shot just 44 percent against one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA.

    Chauncey Billups

    They still won, though, which was all that mattered to head coach Rick Carlisle.

    Chauncey Billups scored 23 points and Ben Wallace grabbed 20 rebounds to lead the Pistons to their fourth straight victory, 90-86 over the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night.

    "The important thing is figure out a way to get the win,'' Carlisle said. "Obviously we could have made it a little easier on ourselves, but the bottom line is to get the win. For us, it came down to getting stops down the stretch.''

    Billups shot 5-for-5 from 3-point range and Richard Hamilton added 18 points for the Pistons, one of only two teams in the Eastern Conference with a winning road record.

    Glenn Robinson scored 24 points, Shareef-Abdur-Rahim added 20 and Jason Terry had 12 assists for Atlanta, which lost its fourth straight.

    Detroit led 83-80 with 1:03 remaining, then made seven of eight free throws to pull ahead 90-82 while the Hawks were scoring on just one of four possessions.

    The biggest play of the game belonged to Hamilton after he missed two free throws with 1:15 to play and the Pistons leading 81-78. He stole the Hawks' inbounds pass and was fouled and made two free throws for a 83-78 lead with 1:12 to play.

    "I wanted to do something, get a steal, get a charge, get something, just to get an opportunity to get back at the line,'' Hamilton said. "I timed it pretty good, got another opportunity, and knocked them down.''

    "That was deflating,'' Terry said of Hamilton's steal and free throws.

    Wallace once again demonstrated why he is one of the NBA's premier rebounders. He scored just seven points, but he had 20 of the Pistons 34 rebounds. Atlanta had 39 rebounds.

    "You ask scorers to go out and score, I get rebounds,'' Wallace said. "That's my m.o. -- go out and get rebounds.''

    Atlanta trailed 66-62 after three quarters and scored just four points in the first five minutes of the fourth to trail 75-66. The Hawks shot just 6-of-20 in the fourth quarter.

    The Hawks were coming off a 107-73 home loss New Year's Day to the Miami Heat. Atlanta seemed to be over that debacle, at least on the offensive end, by making 11 of 19 shots in the first period.

    "I was, naturally, disappointed we lost,'' Atlanta coach Terry Stotts said. "I thought we responded from our previous game and gave a lot of effort.''

    But the Hawks play some of the worst defense in the NBA and still trailed 27-26 at the end of the first quarter. The Pistons shot 11-for-20 in the period.

    It was 42-42 at halftime with Atlanta relying on its forwards, Robinson and Abdur-Rahim (22 points combined), and the Pistons getting better guard play with Billups and Hamilton (22 points).

    Game notes

    The Hawks have been outscored in the third quarter in eight straight games. ... Atlanta reserve Alan Henderson fouled out after just nine minutes of play. ... Detroit forward Zeljko Rebraca practiced Friday and made the trip to Atlanta. He had an irregular heartbeat and left the team for a stress test. ... Hawks rookie guard Dan Dickau dressed for the first time in 20 games. He was sidelined following surgery for torn cartilage in his knee.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 90 86
    FGM-FGA 32-72 (.444) 31-72 (.431)
    3PM-3PA 9-20 (.450) 1-13 (.077)
    FTM-FTA 17-26 (.654) 23-28 (.821)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-34 11-39
    Assists 18 19
    Turnovers 17 16
    Steals 7 12
    Blocks 1 4
    Fast Break Points 4 5
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (0/0) 27 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Chauncey Billups Billups
    Points: 23
    Reb: 2
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0
    Glenn Robinson Robinson
    Points: 24
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 1