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Hamilton huge as Pistons surge by Rockets

Nov 19, 2006 - 3:30 AM AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) -- Richard Hamilton was all over the court against the Houston Rockets.

Hamilton scored a season-high 30 points and Chauncey Billups contributed 23 and nine assists as the Pistons used a late surge for a 104-92 triumph over the Rockets.

Hamilton made 11-of-18 shots from the floor, including 2-of-4 3-pointers. He also handed out eight assists and grabbed seven rebounds.

"I'm just trying to be aggressive and make things happen," Hamilton said. "We can't wait to get into a rhythm."

"(Hamilton) has to be aggressive early in the game," Billups said. "He's our most aggressive player in going to the basket. Then he'll get to the free-throw line and set the tone."

Detroit has won back-to-back games for just the second time this season. After winning two of their first three games, the Pistons dropped four of six prior to this streak.

"It was a good win. Especially in a back-to-back situation, it was outstanding," Billups said. "We're playing with the right intensity. Even if we're not playing that good, if we play hard, we'll win most games with this group of guys."

Billups' 3-pointer from the wing capped a commanding 13-2 surge with 2:49 remaining to help Detroit build a 98-85 advantage. Reserve Flip Murray scored six of his nine fourth-quarter points in the run.

"They expect me to be a spark plug, just come off the bench and provide a spark," Murray said. "I try to cause some havoc on defense, maybe force a turnover and get something on the fast break."

The Pistons were never challenged thereafter as they held a 28-14 advantage in the final period.

"I'm very disappointed, especially since we talked about it," Rockets swingman Tracy McGrady said about the fourth quarter. "We all know what the problem is. It's been the same thing all the time. We gave ourselves a good chance to win on the road against a quality team, but we lost it in the fourth quarter. Twenty-eight points for them and 14 for us is really uncalled for."

Rasheed Wallace collected 15 points and 11 rebounds and Tayshaun Prince also scored 15 points for Detroit, which shot 46 percent (39-of-84) and committed just six turnovers.

Yao Ming had 33 points and 16 rebounds and McGrady added 24 points for Houston, which shot 42 percent (29-of-69) and made only 5-of-20 from the arc.

"They pushed us out and extended us. We didn't do a very good job in countering that," Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "We needed to cut harder, screen harder and post deeper. The first three quarters were bad defensively as well. We're not where we need to be defensively."

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