Thon Maker sank a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 16.7 seconds remaining and the Detroit Pistons overcame Blake Griffin’s ejection to beat the Atlanta Hawks 125-122 on Friday night.
Reggie Jackson scored a season-high 32 points. Andre Drummond had 26 points and 21 rebounds, but the Pistons struggled to overcome Griffin’s third-quarter exit following his second technical foul of the period.
Griffin drew his first technical following a brief battle for the ball with Dewayne Dedmon. Then, after hitting a 3-pointer less than a minute later, Griffin yelled at the Hawks bench and was called for his second technical, apparently for taunting, with 4:19 remaining in the period.
Griffin scored 15 points, ending a streak of four straight games with at least 25.
Drummond made two free throws to tie it at 122 with 43 seconds remaining. Trae Young, who led Atlanta with 30 points and 10 assists, missed on a short floater.
The 7-foot-1 Maker gave Detroit the lead with his 3-pointer from the corner. Young and Vince Carter each missed 3-pointers on Atlanta’s final possession.
Detroit led 88-77 when Griffin left the game. The Hawks immediately began to cut into the lead, pulling ahead 101-100 on Carter’s 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter. Bruce Brown’s three-point play gave the lead back to the Pistons.
Drummond recorded his fifth straight game with at least 15 points and 15 rebounds. He leads the NBA with 20 games with 20 or more points and rebounds.
The Pistons entered eighth in the Eastern Conference’s eight-team playoff standings. Coach Dwane Casey said before the game, “Our playoff push begins tonight.” Casey said he was looking for his team to “put on our hard hats” after a home loss to Hawks on Dec. 23.
The Pistons showed good energy at the start when Jackson made a 3-pointer and Brown stole Atlanta’s inbounds pass and scored on a layup. Detroit led 5-0 before the Hawks could take a shot.
Led by Young, the Hawks also showed good energy after the All-Star break, taking a big first-half lead of 14 points at 59-45 with a 12-0 run. Young scored on an explosive drive, set up Dedmon’s jam and then sank a 3-pointer to cap the run.
Jackson had 15 second-quarter points — matching Young — as Detroit cut the Atlanta lead to 70-68 at halftime. The Pistons took the lead early on the second half on two free throws by Jackson.
Dedmon had 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Pistons: G Wayne Ellington had nine points on three 3-pointers in his first start since signing with the Pistons on Feb. 9. Ellington averaged 8.4 points with Miami this season before he was traded to Phoenix and then waived. Luke Kennard moved to the bench.
Hawks: G Kent Bazemore had 12 points as the fill-in starter for rookie Kevin Huerter (left ankle sprain). Huerter is not expected to play in Saturday night’s game against Phoenix. … The Hawks allowed at least 30 first-quarter points for the 30th time this season.
Pistons: At Miami on Saturday night.
Hawks: The Suns will take a 16-game losing streak into Saturday night’s game and have won only four of 31 road games.