Late free throw misses cost Detroit Pistons in 98-95 loss to lowly Atlanta
DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Pistons thought they had the right big guy on the line.
With 23 seconds left and trailing the Atlanta Hawks by a point, it was Blake Griffin with two free throws instead of Andre Drummond, one of the worst free-throw shooters in league history.
Griffin missed both shots, and the Hawks held on for a 98-95 victory Sunday.
“I have to be better than that,” he said. “We fought back to give ourselves a chance to win the game, and I missed the shots.”
The Hawks led by as many as 17 before Detroit’s late rally and won their third straight to improve to 9-23. Alex Len had 15 points and a season-high 17 rebounds, while Vince Carter scored a season-best 18.
Facing Drummond, one of the best rebounders in the league, Len had eight offensive boards and held Drummond to two.
“Blake and Andre both had a lot of missed shots, and we were able to grab them and score on our own misses,” Len said.
Detroit has lost nine of 11. Langston Galloway led the Pistons with 18, and Drummond had 13 points and 15 rebounds.
“We talked before the game about having to have a good approach in a game like this, playing just before Christmas against a team with a bad record,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “We had that attitude in the fourth quarter, but you can’t win a game by playing one quarter.”
After Griffin’s misses, Jeremy Lin hit two foul shots to stretch the lead, Reggie Jackson dunked for the Pistons, and Lin hit two more free throws to make it 96-93. Galloway missed a layup, and the Hawks locked it up from the line.