Hawks 99, Pistons 93


ATLANTA (AP) – Joe Johnson scored 34 points and Josh Smith, just back from hernia surgery, hit a crucial 3-pointer with 10.7 seconds left to help the Atlanta Hawks hold on for a 99-93 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night.

Johnson made his first 11 shots before missing on a drive to the lane early in the fourth quarter. But his biggest play came when he rebounded his own miss and banked in a shot to put the Hawks up 95-87 with 2:31 remaining.

It was a fourth-chance basket for the Hawks, who hustled for three offensive rebounds in a row before Johnson finally scored. Coach Mike Woodson pumped his fist and the Pistons called timeout.

Detroit wasn’t done. The Pistons closed to 95-93 on Ronald Murray’s free throw with 1:17 to go but didn’t score again. Josh Childress stripped the ball from Richard Hamilton in the corner and Smith blocked a shot by Murray.

Finally, with the shot clock running down, Smith swished an open 3 to seal the victory. He backed all the way down the court with a big grin, clearly not in any pain after missing eight games recovering from hernia surgery.

Hamilton scored 32 points to lead the Pistons.

AP-ES-01-12-07 2208EST