Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 12/10

Game 1: Friday, December 10th
Game 2: Wednesday, February 2nd
Game 3: Monday, March 14th
Game 4: Tuesday, April 19th

Hawks 88

(4-15, 2-7 away)

Pistons 72

(10-9, 6-2 home)

Coverage: FSS

8:00 PM ET, December 10, 2004

The Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit, MI

1 2 3 4 T
ATL 32 24 18 1488
DET 20 18 16 1872

Top Performers

Atlanta: P. Drobnjak 16 Pts, 6 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Blk

Detroit: R. Hamilton 24 Pts, 6 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl

Five Hawks hit double figures

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Detroit Pistons coach Larry Brown wasn't looking forward to coaching against two of his assistants from last year's title-winning team, Atlanta head coach Mike Woodson and his older brother, Hawks assistant Herb Brown.

He had no idea how bad it was going to get.

Woodson and Herb Brown got their championship rings in a pre-game ceremony, then led the Hawks to a stunning 88-72 win over the Pistons.

"I hate games like this, because I miss those two guys every day, and now I have to go against them," Larry Brown said before the game.

The Hawks, who led by as many as 29, won for just the second time in 12 games and held Detroit to a franchise record for fewest points in a home game.

"It is tough coaching against Larry, because he has meant so much to my career, and I know he hates coaching against his old assistants," Woodson said. "But this was a great win for us."

Detroit played without two key big men -- Rasheed Wallace (hamstring) and Antonio McDyess (calf) -- and spent most of the game with Ben Wallace as its only veteran inside player. Darko Milicic was forced to play a career-high 24 minutes, scoring four points.

"We think we can just go out and play any way, take any shot and everything's going to be OK," Larry Brown said. "You get exposed when you don't have your big guys to bail you out."

Tony Delk and Predrag Drobnjak had 16 points each for Atlanta, which won its second in three games after losing nine in a row.

"We are playing really good defense right now," Drobnjak said. "We just need to keep this up."

Richard Hamilton led all scorers with 24, but the rest of the Pistons combined to shoot just 29.6 percent (16-for-54).

"I've been here for two years, and I haven't seen anything worse than that," Chauncey Billups said.

The Hawks replaced point guard Kenny Anderson in the starting lineup with 6-foot-9 rookie Josh Smith, and Boris Diaw was Atlanta's shortest starter at 6-foot-8. The big lineup paid immediate dividends, as Smith blocked three shots in the first quarter and the Hawks shot 66.7 percent on their way to a 32-20 lead.

"That was a whole lot of fun," said Smith, who was making his first NBA start. "It was a special night to beat the champs, but we can't dwell on it."

Things didn't get any better for the defending NBA champions in the second quarter as Atlanta shot 62.5 percent and held the Pistons to just 4-for-17 shooting from the field. The Hawks led 56-38 at intermission, getting 12 points off the bench from Drobnjak.

Atlanta removed any hopes of a Pistons' rally by moving the lead to 68-40 at the midpoint of the third quarter. Smith, who turned 19 this week, punctuated the rout with two spectacular dunks early in the period.

"You cannot teach what that young man has," Delk said. "You have to be born with it. He was unbelievable."

Smith finished with career-highs of 12 points and four blocks.

"I needed to shake things up a bit, and Josh deserved a shot," Woodson said. "He's a phenomenal athlete, and he was wonderful tonight."

Game notes

The Hawks got halfcourt buzzer-beating shots in each of the first two quarters -- by Delk at the end of the first and Antoine Walker in the second. ... Pistons rookie Carlos Delfino did not play in the second half after straining his knee, and is expected to go on the injured list. ... Detroit had scored 72 points three other times at home, most recently Dec. 12, 2003 against Seattle. ... Smith played a career-high 27 minutes.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 88 72
FGM-FGA 38-69 (.551) 23-75 (.307)
3PM-3PA 6-17 (.353) 3-14 (.214)
FTM-FTA 6-12 (.500) 23-31 (.742)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 5-37 16-41
Assists 25 12
Turnovers 23 16
Steals 7 7
Blocks 9 4
Fast Break Points 17 12
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 30 (0/0) 18 (0/0)
Largest Lead 29 4

Top Performers

Predrag Drobnjak Drobnjak
Points: 16
Reb: 6
Ast: 2
Stl: 0
Blk: 2
Richard Hamilton Hamilton
Points: 24
Reb: 6
Ast: 4
Stl: 2
Blk: 0