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Balanced Pistons top Hawks 106-95

ATLANTA - The Detroit Pistons scored 22 of the first 31 points in the third quarter to break open a close game, beating the Atlanta Hawks 106-95 on Tuesday night for their fourth straight victory.

Chauncey Billups made two free throws with 1.4 seconds left in the third period, giving the balanced Pistons' attack seven players in double figures and an 87-61 lead with a full period left.

The Philips Arena scoreboard, perhaps unable to keep up, was blank for the start of the final quarter.

At one point in the third quarter the posted score was Hawks 75, Pistons 0. That fiction was as close as the Hawks came to holding a lead.

Tayshaun Prince led the Pistons with 23 points. Atlanta native and former University of Georgia star Jarvis Hayes had 17 points in 17 minutes. Richard Hamilton had 14 and Jason Maxiell added 13.

The Pistons have won six of seven. Their average margin of victory in the first three wins of their streak was 28 points.

The Pistons outscored the Hawks 30-13 in the third quarter.

Josh Childress, who paced Atlanta with 18 points, led a mini-comeback in the final quarter, when both teams relied heavily on reserves.

Salim Stoudamire had 15 points, all in the fourth quarter.

Atlanta's Joe Johnson, held scoreless in the second and third periods, had five points, almost 17 below his average of 21.7. He didn't play in the final quarter. Johnson's previous low total for the season was 14.

Josh Smith, who also sat out the fourth quarter, had 13 points for Atlanta. Rookie point guard Acie Law, in his second game back from an ankle injury, and Marvin Williams each had 11 points.