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Pistons ease past shorthanded 76ers for third straight win

Nov 22, 2006 - 2:33 AM PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- With no Allen Iverson and no Chris Webber, the Philadelphia 76ers were really no match for the improving Detroit Pistons.

Tayshaun Prince scored 25 points and Rasheed Wallace added 21 and 11 rebounds as the Pistons took advantage of the shorthanded 76ers in a 97-87 victory, their season-high third straight triumph.

Richard Hamilton contributed 16 points for Detroit (6-5), which shot 50 percent (36-of-72) from the field and never trailed as it moved above .500 for just the second time this season.

Iverson, third in the NBA in scoring at 28.7 points per game, sat out after having surgery to remove an abscessed wisdom tooth Tuesday afternoon. Webber, averaging 10 points and a team-leading 8.1 rebounds, missed his second straight game with a sore lower back.

Willie Green started for Iverson and scored a season-high 24 points on 10-of-21 shooting. Shavlik Randolph started for Webber and collected nine points and nine rebounds, although he had plenty of trouble defending Wallace.

"I thought Willie was good," Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said. "Driving the basketball was one of the things we stressed and putting the ball on the floor and getting to the basket a lot. He was certainly a guy that did it."

"The quality of shots (wasn't) too good tonight," Sixers swingman Andre Iguodala said. "(There were) too many quick shots, and we didn't get enough ball movement and reversal. I think that is from (Iverson and Webber) not being here."

Without two of their top players, the Sixers spent the entire game scrambling from behind against the Pistons, who have won four in a row and nine of 10 in the series. Detroit held a 46-39 halftime lead behind 10 points each from Wallace and Prince.

"They were small pretty much across the board except for the two guards," Wallace said. "We just tried to take advantage of that."

"We played a veteran team, a team that may not be exactly the same team they used to be, but they play well together," Green said. "It would've taken an A-plus game to beat those guys tonight, and we went out there and played B basketball."

Hamilton, who banged knees with Kyle Korver late in the first half and went to the locker room, returned after the break to score 10 points in the third quarter. His 3-pointer gave Detroit its first double-digit lead at 60-50 at the 5:36 mark.

"I just wanted to be out there and be a decoy," Hamilton said. "Any way I could help my team win, that's what I wanted to do. I just hit a couple of shots."

Three baskets by rookie Rodney Carney helped cut a 14-point deficit to 78-72 with 8:48 to go. But Prince sank two free throws and drilled a 3-pointer and Wallace sank a 3-pointer to rebuild the lead to 14 points.

"We did the things we had to do to win the game," Prince said. "We just kept patient with our offense and we made plays. It was just a good job by us responding to their run. We had control of the game throughout. It's a good win. No matter if Chris and Allen didn't play, it's still a good win."

Chauncey Billups had 11 points and 11 assists for the Pistons, who made 9-of-21 from the arc.

"It was a good win for us, a win like tonight," Billups said. "Without their big two stars, it's easy to let your guard down. I thought we came in very aggressive and took control of the game. We pretty much controlled the game the entire way."

Korver and Iguodala scored 13 points each and Samuel Dalembert swept 15 boards for the Sixers, who held a 44-36 advantage on the glass but shot just 39.5 percent (30-of-76).

"Early on they took control of the game and we tried to get back in it but we couldn't score the ball," Cheeks said. "We couldn't make shots."

Philadelphia lost for the sixth time in seven games since a 3-0 start.

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