Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit's bench exploded again Friday, outscoring Atlanta 41-14 as the Pistons won their sixth game in their last seven. They are now within seven games of Central leaders Chicago and Indiana.
Detroit's brutal start to the 2012 season is melting away under the heat of its bench players. The Pistons are averaging 52.4 points a game off their bench in winning six of their last seven games, including an 85-84 win over Atlanta Friday. Detroit's reserves scored 41 points to Atlanta's 14 in the victory, moving the Pistons to 13-22 overall.
Detroit looks to extend their winning streak to five games when they host Charlotte Saturday. The Bobcats have lost 19 of their last 20 games.
The Pistons sit seven games behind the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers, who share the lead in the Central division. Chicago (18-13) defeated Miami 96-89 Friday, while the Pacers (19-14) dropped a 94-75 decision at Boston.
Milwaukee (16-15) remained in third place despite losing their third-straight game Friday, 115-101 to Houston. They are now two games behind the lead.
Cleveland trails the rest of the division at 8-24 despite a 106-104 win over Charlotte Friday.