With the game on the line late in the fourth quarter, the Atlanta Hawks did something that they haven't done a lot of lately -- gave the ball to Josh Smith inside. J-Smoove nailed a tough shot as the shot clock hit all zeros and his Hawks soared to what looks like a deceivingly easy win.
Al Horford had 18 points and 10 boards and Josh Smith and Joe Johnson poured in 17 each to lead the Hawks to a 104-96 win over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday afternoon at Philips Arena.
Rodney Stuckey netted 22 points and Chris Wilcox scored 18 for the Pistons, who dropped their seventh straight on the road and sixth straight in Atlanta.
"It feels good," Josh Smith told the team's TV broadcast afterward. "Especially when we do it the right way. We had 25 assists. We were just making the right decisions."
With Atlanta struggling in each of its last two games, the Hawks went back to the past with a starting lineup that included Horford, Smith, Johnson, Kirk Hinrich and Marvin Williams. And for most of the game, the Hawks brought a balanced attack that has been rarely seen of late with this Atlanta team.
All five starters and Zaza Pachulia finished in double figures in this one and brought an energy to the game that had been lacking.
"We definitely have to pick up the energy," Smith said. "Energy and effort. When we do that we're a pretty good ball club. We just have to do that on a consistent basis."
The Hawks lead by 10 on numerous occasions in the first half, but couldn't quite shake the Pistons, who trailed 55-50 at the break. Atlanta also seemingly took control down the stretch, but couldn't quite finish against Detroit -- that is until Smith broke free late.
Jamal Crawford kept the ball for perhaps too long up by the arc before the club ultimately found Smith in the low post. Smith finished it with a turnaround hook shot with 52.1 seconds left to post Atlanta to a 100-95 lead.
From there, it simply became foul ball. Greg Monroe split a pair of free throws for Detroit's last points before Smith, Crawford and Al Horford connected on 4-of-6 from the charity stripe to end the ballgame.
The Hawks' modest two-game losing streak was history.
"We just were out there having fun, moving the basketball and making shots," Johnson told SportSouth. "It feels great to pull back together and get a win on our home floor. Hopefully, we can build on it."
Hinrich had 15 points, Williams13, Hinrich 12 and Pachulia 11 for Atlanta, which takes on the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night at Philips Arena.