Atlanta wins its 10th straight at homeApr 4, 2010 - 2:55 AM By GEORGE HENRY Associated Press Writer
ATLANTA(AP) -- Jamal Crawford knows how much it would mean for the Atlanta Hawks to reach 50 wins.
"That would be huge," Crawford said. "It's something that hasn't happened here in (a long time), so that's a big deal."
Crawford scored 29 points, Al Horford added 20 points and 14 rebounds and the Hawks beat the Detroit Pistons 91-85 on Saturday night for their 10th straight home victory.
The Hawks also handed Detroit its 11th straight loss, the Pistons' worst run since dropping 13 in a row Dec. 15-Jan. 11.
Josh Smith finished with 13 points and 14 rebounds to help the Hawks improve to 13-6 overall since Feb. 28.
In his first season with Atlanta, Crawford has been instrumental as the sixth man. Crawford is second on the team with a 17.8 scoring average and he filled an offensive void left Saturday by Joe Johnson's sprained right thumb.
Now in his 10th NBA season, Crawford understands how badly Atlanta struggled with nine straight seasons through 2007-08.
"Being a 50-win team means you're pretty good, but we won't be satisfied with that," Crawford said. "We'll continue to try to build on what we've done and try to get some steam going into the playoffs."
Rodney Stuckey had 22 points for the Pistons, and Tayshaun Prince added 17.
Jonas Jerebko's layup at the 3:29 mark of the third gave the Pistons their first lead since Will Bynum's jumper made it 17-16 with 1:51 left in the first. But the Hawks never trailed after Zaza Pachulia's tip-in made it 76-74 with 11:13 remaining.
Ben Gordon, who signed a five-year, $55 million contract with Detroit last summer, finished 0 for 7 from the field and went scoreless. In his last 33 games, Gordon has scored in single digits 19 times, including three with no points.
Maurice Evans scored 10 points as he started in place of Johnson, the Hawks' leading scorer. Injuries also caused forced the Pistons' Richard Hamilton, Ben Wallace and Jason Maxiell to miss the game.
Detroit's last field goal came with 2:25 left in the game when Stuckey's layup cut the Hawks' lead to five at 88-83.
"We played our heart out," Kwame Brown said after making his first start in 47 games this season. "We were just playing one of the best teams in the East, which is a tough task."
Over a difficult stretch that has included few highlights, Pistons coach John Kuester was pleased to watch his team commit a season-low three turnovers.
"I think we competed," Kuester said. "It was good to see that we took care of the basketball. We had about four or five possessions in the fourth where we couldn't come up with anything. We had some good looks. The ball just didn't go in the hole."
Crawford hit a pair of free throws to end the scoring with 22.8 seconds remaining.
Smith thought Crawford's contribution was critical considering the Hawks were coming off a five-point loss the night before at Cleveland and so much of the offense goes through Johnson.
"He has so many offensive plays that we run for him that we don't know what's going to happen," Smith said. "So whatever works (without Johnson) we stick with it."
Atlanta forward Marvin Williams, now in his fifth season, was pleased to see his team suffer no letdown against a club that's lost 53 games.
"I think the old Hawks would have done that," Williams said. "Guys have really matured. We know we have to play hard every single night."
NOTES: Hawks coach Mike Woodson listed Johnson as day-to-day, adding that he hopes he'll be ready Tuesday night at Charlotte. ... Detroit's 7-30 road record includes a current 11-game losing streak. ... Atlanta improved to 19-7 when Crawford hits a 3-pointer. He was 6 of 9 from 3-point range.
ATLANTA 91 FINAL
Apr 3 9:27 PM
ATLANTA 74 END, 3RD QTR
Apr 3 8:51 PM
ATLANTA 54 HALFTIME
Apr 3 8:09 PM
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