Atlanta Hawks were unable to overcome a lackluster first half in an 85-84 loss to the Detroit Pistons, failing to capitalize on an opportunity to gain ground on the first-place Miami Heat in the process.
Atlanta found itself down at halftime, 51-36, and couldn't quite dig completely out of the hole despite outscoring Detroit by 11 points in the final quarter. Austin Daye led the Pistons with 20 points and six rebounds off the bench. Josh Smith paced the Hawks with 20 points of his own, while Al Horford finished with 18 points and 15 rebounds.
The Heat fell to the Chicago Bulls on Friday night at home, 96-89, after being outrebounded by Chicago, 48-28. Bulls forward Carlos Boozer added 12 rebounds to his team-high 27 points while center Joakim Noah also pitched in 12 boards as Chicago dominated Miami on the glass, particularly on the offensive end, where the Bulls pulled down 19 rebounds compared to the Heat's four.
LeBron James finished with 30 points and six rebounds in the losing effort.
Other Southeast division scores from Friday:
Kyrie Irving nailed a 15-foot jumper with one second left to lead the woeful Cavs past the lowly Bobcats in Charlotte.
Joe Johnson hit an 18-footer with 0.7 seconds remaining, allowing the Nets to escape D.C. with a win, denying Washington its fifth victory of the season.