Jackson helps Pistons cruise past Hawks 118-95
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) The Detroit Pistons were happy to be home after a five-game West Coast trip. They played like it, too.
Reggie Jackson scored 26 points to lead the balanced Pistons to a 118-95 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night. It was Detroit’s first game at the Palace since beating Charlotte on Jan. 5.
”Man, I felt like we haven’t been here in a while,” said Marcus Morris, who finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. ”My time is a little off because we’ve been over there for so long. It feels great to be back home.”
Each of Detroit’s starters scored in double figures, and the Pistons shot 49.5 percent from the field. Tobias Harris had 19 points, Reggie Bullock finished with 15 and Andre Drummond added 13 points and 17 rebounds.
Detroit raced out to a 42-18 first-quarter lead and never trailed.
”We played well, we made shots,” Morris said. ”Tobias got off to a great start and we just continued to go, continued to move the ball. It was one of our better quarters of the season.”
Paul Millsap had 21 points and eight rebounds for the Hawks, who had won nine of 10. Dennis Schroder added 13 points and six assists.
Atlanta shot 38.5 percent from the field, including a 6-for-25 performance from 3-point range.
”Games like that happen,” Millsap said. ”They came out and punched us, punched us hard. We weren’t able to come back from that.”
The Pistons scored the first seven points of the game on the way to their big first quarter. Detroit went 16 for 26 from the field, including a 6-for-7 start from 3-point range, in the opening period.
Detroit continued to dominate in the second quarter, building a 54-24 advantage on Morris’ free throw with 7:35 left. Atlanta cut the deficit to 20 later in the period, but trailed 69-45 at halftime.
”Credit to Detroit,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. ”They were better than us in every phase of the game. They were well prepared.”
Detroit, which 2-3 on its West Coast trip, outrebounded Atlanta 60-32, and went 10 for 25 from beyond the arc.
”We played with confidence and a lot of effort,” Jackson said. ”From start to finish, we played really well.”
The Hawks traded guard Mo Williams to Denver and signed guard Gary Neal to a 10-day contract. Neal scored four points in the loss.
In exchange for Williams, the Hawks reacquired the rights to Cenk Akyol and a $2.2 million traded player exception, which they must use within the next year.
Williams, who has not played all season, was acquired by the Hawks along with Mike Dunleavy in a trade that sent Kyle Korver to Cleveland.
Hawks: F/C Tiago Splitter (right calf strain) and F/C Mike Muscala (left ankle sprain) did not play. … Wednesday’s margin of defeat was the Hawks’ largest since a 128-84 loss at Toronto on Dec. 3. … G Tim Hardaway Jr. played college basketball at Michigan and his dad, Tim Hardaway, is a Pistons assistant. Hardaway Jr. finished with 10 points.
Pistons: F Jon Leuer (right knee) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (left rotator cuff strain) did not play. … Detroit’s 42 points in the first quarter was its highest total for any quarter this season. ”I thought that was our best quarter of the year, in terms of both offense and defense combined,” coach Stan Van Gundy said.
The Pistons host Washington on Saturday night, giving Morris a chance to play against his brother, Markieff Morris.
”They’ve been playing really well, so I know they’re coming in with a lot of confidence,” Marcus Morris said. ”Coming off our two wins, we have a lot of confidence, too, so I think it’s going to be a great game.”
Hawks: Host Chicago on Friday.
Pistons: Host Washington on Saturday.