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Pistons Can Now Sit Back, Wait for Next Opponent

May 15, 1987|Associated Press

PONTIAC, Mich. — Not knowing who or when they will play next in the NBA playoffs, the Detroit Pistons can be content to relax and savor their unprecedented second-round playoff victory over the Atlanta Hawks.

Wednesday's 104-96 victory in Atlanta gave the Pistons a 4-1 decision over the Hawks in their best-of-seven series and a berth in the NBA semifinals for the first time in franchise history.

"I'm just happy to be there," said Detroit Coach Chuck Daly. "We've got time to prepare, time to look at them, time to get rested. I've got good feelings about the way everything is going."

The Pistons were down by 12 points with 9:14 left in the game before the hot shooting of guard Vinnie Johnson lifted the Pistons to one of the biggest victories in franchise history.

The Pistons got 15 points from Johnson in the final nine minutes and scored their last 10 points from the foul line in the physical game punctuated by shoving matches.

"I wasn't thinking about having a streak," Johnson said. "I just wanted to win the game, and get home. It just so happened I got a streak going and maybe it helped take something away from them."

The Pistons will meet the winner of the Boston-Milwaukee series, which Boston leads three games to two.

Should Boston beat Milwaukee tonight and win the series, the Pistons would face the Celtics Sunday in Boston. If the Boston-Milwaukee series goes seven games, the Pistons would take on the winner on Tuesday or Wednesday.

With the victory over Atlanta, the Pistons are making franchise history with each game that advances them toward the playoff championship.

"I know we beat one of the best teams in the league," Daly said. "So that must put us up there with them.

"For the past four or five years, this franchise has improved each year. We played a helluva series," Daly said.

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