--The Hawks had to hold on for the victory Saturday, surviving a late Pistons rally after leading by nine points early in the fourth quarter.Joe Johnson's free throws with 7.5 seconds to play polished things off for the Hawks. Flip Murray stole of the Pistons' inbounds pass on the ensuing play.
Murray played big minutes off the bench, finishing with 12 points. And he seemed to thrive in the playoff-type atmosphere that smothered the game from start to finish.
"That's the way the rest of this year is going to be," Murray said. "It's playoff time. Everybody's playing for playoff position, and these last (19) games are very important."
It certainly seemed that way to Josh Smith and Al Horford. The frontcourt duo combined for 24 rebounds, which carried the Hawks (35-28).
As good as Smith was, Horford was just as effective. He finished with 18 points, 12 rebounds and two assists.
"We're trying to put the roller coaster of the past few days behind us," Horford said. "I think we were a little tired from the road, but we were able to dig in the way we are supposed to. We played tonight like we played against Miami last week. We had the mentality like we needed to win this game, and that's what we were able to do in the end."
--First-year Pistons coach Michael Curry has his own set of issues to deal with in Detroit.
But like almost everyone else at Philips Arena on Saturday night, he was asked about the rift between Hawks coach Mike Woodson and Josh Smith and how he might have reacted to such a situation.
"Everyone has to handle things differently," Curry said. "I just always try to let nothing become personal; just try to do everything from a basketball standpoint, what's best for the team. If you stick with that, hopefully everything else will be OK."
As for Smith and Woodson bumping heads, Curry recognizes it's something that didn't exactly start Friday.
"That's been going on for some years now," Curry said. "I heard there was an incident (Friday), but you never know how those teams respond."
--The Pistons squad that showed up Saturday didn't look anything like the team the Hawks handled Feb. 11 at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
They're currently playing without All-Star guard Allen Iverson (back), and thriving without him. They're 4-1 since he went down, that first loss coming at the hands of the Hawks.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "The defense was solid. You hold this team under 90 points and to 40 percent shooting (for the game) and I'd say your defense was good. And that's what we need to do these last (19) games to reach our goal." -- Hawks coach Mike Woodson, on his team's defensive effort against the Pistons.