Tuesday , Feb , 07 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Hawks shock Pistons on Johnson’s late basket

Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) – Joe Johnson’s bank shot with 7.5 seconds left
gave the Atlanta Hawks a come-from-behind 99-98 upset victory over the Detroit
Pistons at Philips Arena.

Johnson scored a team-high 29 points and dished out five assists and Zaza
Pachulia added 16 points and nine rebounds for the Hawks, who have won four of
their last five games and sent the Pistons to back-to-back defeats for the
first time all season.

“Those moments at the end of the game as players we cherish them,” said
Johnson of the game-winning shot. “Me personally, I want the ball at the end
of the game. My coaching staff and teammates believed in me since day one and
we’ve been rolling with it.”

Al Harrington had 14 points and Salim Stoudamire added 12 off the bench in the
victory.

Tayshaun Prince scored 29 points, Chauncey Billups netted 20 points and dished
out seven assists and Richard Hamilton added 16 points in the loss. However,
Rasheed Wallace was held to seven points on 3-of-14 shooting for the Pistons,
who fell to Indiana, 93-85, on Saturday. Detroit was denied its NBA-leading
40th win (39-8) of the year.

Hamilton, Ben Wallace and Billups each had opportunities to win the game in
the final seconds, but the Hawks, who moved to 15-32, escaped with the
stunning victory, especially for a club that started the season with nine
straight losses.

“I don’t think we played with the heart and desire that we usually play with.
We didn’t come out and impose our will on this team,” said Ben Wallace. “This
league is strange like that, you look to come out and win every game but
things happen. Some nights it doesn’t go for you and tonight was one of those
nights.”

The Hawks hung tough through three quarters, then seized the lead during the
fourth.

Atlanta used a 12-6 quarter-opening burst to take an 89-87 edge. Pachulia
scored inside then after Harrington made a jumper, Johnson’s basket opened the
two-point lead.

Jumpers by Hamilton and Prince allowed the Pistons to open a 94-91 lead with
3:07 left. Then, after Prince made a free throw, Pachulia tallied two points
in the paint to make the score 95-93 with 1:40 left.

Prince and Harrington exchanged baskets, then Ben Wallace made 1-of-2 from the
charity stripe. Pachulia made a pair of free throws on the other end cut the
deficit to 98-97 with 42 ticks left.

Billups missed a trey and Atlanta had a chance to win the contest. Johnson
used a high pick and slashed to the left box and made a bank shot to push the
Hawks in front 99-98 with 7.5 seconds left.

Hamilton missed a contested jumper in the lane and a flying Ben Wallace missed
an acrobatic tip-in attempt. The ball went out of bounds with eight-tenths of
a second left, but Billups — in an attempt to catch and shoot quickly —
didn’t handle the in-bounds pass and time expired.

The Pistons asserted themselves early in the contest. Holding a 17-15 lead,
Detroit finished the first stanza on a 17-9 scoring stretch to open a double-
digit lead. Hamilton tallied seven points and Prince’s three gave Detroit the
34-24 edge.

Atlanta didn’t go away, however, and used a 19-9 quarter-opening burst to
square the contest at 43-43. Josh Childress scored five points and back-to-
back buckets from Johnson tied the game with around six minutes to play.

Detroit opened a 60-57 lead at the half behind 15 points from Prince. Johnson
led all scorers with 18 points.

In a methodical third quarter, the Pistons slowly extend their advantage to
81-77 after three periods.

Game Notes

The Pistons fell to 18-6 on the road…The Hawks improved to 11-14 at
home…The loss snapped the Pistons four-game winning streak versus Atlanta
and its six-game win streak in Atlanta…The Hawks shot 49.4 percent from the
floor…Childress tallied 10 points off the bench…Antonio McDyess scored 11
points in the loss.

ATL DET