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Pistons overpower shorthanded Hawks

Dec 24, 2006 - 6:29 AM AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) -- The Detroit Pistons look forward to visits from the Atlanta Hawks.

Nazr Mohammed scored a season-high 19 points as the Pistons broke the game open in the third quarter and breezed to a 108-81 victory over the depleted Hawks.

Atlanta dropped to 3-22 in Detroit since February 4, 1995, and its chances of reversing the trend were minimal as the team continues to be wracked by injuries. Not that it would have mattered the way the Pistons played.

"We took care of business," Detroit point guard Chauncey Billups said. "That's probably one of the first games where we came out and did what we had to do from the start. We just took control and never turned back. It was a good game to watch, for me. To watch the young guys play and have some fun and we should have a lot more games like that."

Speedy Claxton, Zaza Pachulia and Josh Smith all were sidelined with injuries for Atlanta, joining a growing list that already included Josh Childress and Tyronn Lue. That left the Hawks without four of their six leading scorers.

Mohammed scored nine points in a 23-10 third-quarter spurt that extended a nine-point halftime lead to 69-47 on a 3-pointer by Chauncey Billups with 4:28 left in the period.

"We're just trying to get better as a team right now," Mohammed said. "We're just trying to keep improving until April when we start to play some real ball. I know I'm going to be in the game in the first and third quarters, and anything else is just reading the situation.

"I do what I can with the minutes I get and try to put us in a position to win."

The Pistons, with Richard Hamilton, Mohammed and Tayshaun Prince combining for 28 of the 35 third-quarter points, carried an 81-56 cushion into the final 12 minutes.

Prince and Hamilton each had 16 points as Detroit won for the sixth time in seven games.

Marvin Williams paced Atlanta with 19 points.

"I thought we competed in the first half," Williams said. "In the second half, they just came out and poured it on. Detroit's one of the best teams in the league. They're a good team and when they get you down they know how to keep you down."

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