The Pistons, who had a three-game winning streak snapped, overcame a 10-point deficit late in the third quarter and moved a point in front with 5:59 to play. Atlanta then held Detroit scoreless for 3:04 while regaining the momentum.
Atlanta moved a half game in front of idle Orlando for the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Rodney Stuckey scored 27 for the Pistons, who surrendered the final nine points of the first half after being tied with 3:01 left in the second period.