Final / OT

Regular Season Series (Game 4 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

Hawks 99

(29-44, 8-30 away)

Pistons 102

(45-25, 27-7 home)

    Coverage: FSS

    7:30 PM ET, March 26, 2003

    The Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit, MI

    1 2 3 4 OT T
    ATL 28 22 24 19 699
    DET 18 20 25 30 9102

    Top Performers

    Atl: D. Glover 20 Pts, 6 Reb, 5 Ast

    Det: R. Hamilton 27 Pts, 4 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl

    Atlanta blows two large fourth-quarter leads

    AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Chauncey Billups hit the big shot, but only because Mehmet Okur gave him the chance.

     Chauncey Billups

    Billups hit a 3-pointer with one-tenth of a second left to give the Detroit Pistons a 102-99 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night.

    Billups would have not gotten that chance without the play of the Turkish rookie. Okur scored all of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, helping Detroit overcome a 15-point deficit in the final 9:20.

    "I think this may be the best game of my life,'' Okur said. "I think was able to give my teammates some energy. Everyone thought the game was over, and some of our fans left, but this is why we are the best team in the East."

    Pistons coach Rick Carlisle was thrilled with his rookie.

    "Mehmet just plays the game," Carlisle said. "He's not bashful or indecisive and he is getting a better sense of when to be aggressive and when to kick the ball out."

    After Shareef Abdur-Rahim's putback dunk tied the game at 99 with 29 seconds left in overtime, the shot clock was turned off when Jason Terry committed a foul. Billups took Jon Barry's inbounds pass and drained a jumper over Terry from the top of the key.

    "I wasn't getting what I wanted when I went to the basket tonight, and when I did get there, I was struggling to finish," said Billups. "I did what I was comfortable with -- I just put it up and it went down."

    The game-winner was the second in less than three weeks for Billups. He hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer March 9 to give the Pistons a 107-105 win over Golden State.

    "Chauncey is a confident guy who is only thinking about a win," Carlisle said. "He has done some great things at the end of games."

    Terry, who played all but 13 seconds after playing 42 minutes Tuesday in a loss to the Lakers, said he was hurting more emotionally than physically.

    "It's hard to work that hard all night and then lose because someone hits a deep bomb on you at the buzzer," he said. "I feel fine -- I was more tired last night -- but this one is very demoralizing."

    The Hawks blew two large fourth-quarter leads and allowed Detroit to tie the game in the last minute of regulation. They had a chance to win in regulation, but Terry's jumper over Robinson was well short.

    Richard Hamilton led the Pistons with 27 points while Billups had 23. Ben Wallace added 23 rebounds, his seventh game of at least 20 in the last eight.

    Atlanta was missing leading scorer Glenn Robinson, who sat out with an inflamed left Achilles tendon. Abdur-Rahim led the Hawks with 23 points while Dion Glover added 20 and Terry had 18.

    "Saying we were tired is too convenient -- we played a great game and they kicked our butt with a bunch of 3-pointers at the end," said Atlanta coach Terry Stotts. "We put forth a tremendous effort and did a lot of great things. We just didn't win the game."

    The Hawks shot 55 percent from the floor in the first half and held the Pistons to just 30.8 percent, building a 50-38 lead.

    Detroit picked up the offense in the third quarter, but still couldn't stop the Hawks, who led by as many as 16 points. The Pistons finally put together an 8-0 run late in the period to trail 74-63 heading into the final quarter.

    Atlanta scored the first four points of the fourth, expanding its lead to 15 points, but Detroit went on a 19-4 run that included 11 points from Okur, including two free throws to tie the game at 84 with 4:06 to play.

    The Pistons went scoreless for the next 2:43, allowing Atlanta to build a 91-84 lead, but Okur had five more points in a 7-0 run. Hamilton's jumper re-tied the game with 30 seconds left.

    "He hit a couple nice shots -- I have no idea how he made one of those layups -- and then he got the benefit of the doubt on a couple calls,'' said Theo Ratliff of Okur's big fourth quarter. "That got him going, and they had the confidence in him to keep giving him the ball."

    Game notes
    Pistons guard Chucky Atkins missed the game with a bruised left knee. ... Atlanta outrebounded Detroit 26-17 in the first half despite 11 rebounds from Wallace. ... The Pistons won the season series 3-1 and have now beaten Atlanta nine straight times at home. ... Detroit clinched a playoff spot with the win.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 99 102
    FGM-FGA 39-85 (.459) 36-90 (.400)
    3PM-3PA 3-8 (.375) 6-16 (.375)
    FTM-FTA 18-21 (.857) 24-30 (.800)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 8-47 12-49
    Assists 18 24
    Turnovers 13 12
    Steals 6 9
    Blocks 10 6
    Fast Break Points 6 4
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 25 (1/0) 20 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Dion Glover Glover
    Points: 20
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0
    Richard Hamilton Hamilton
    Points: 27
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0