for this game

Billups, Pistons top Knicks, win eighth consecutive game

Dec 2, 2006 - 3:51 AM AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) -- Chauncey Billups ruined Isiah Thomas' latest return to the Motor City and kept the Detroit Pistons on a roll.

Billups collected 22 points and a season-high 16 assists and Tayshaun Prince tied a career high with 31 points as the hot-shooting Pistons held off the pesky New York Knicks, 108-100, for their eighth consecutive win.

Richard Hamilton added 26 points for Detroit, which shot 48 percent (38-of-79) from the field - including 11-of-22 from the arc - and 21-of-24 from the line.

"You don't expect that kind of shooting from guys on tired legs," said Pistons coach Flip Saunders, whose team won in Miami on Thursday night. "(Tayshaun) bailed us out when we were struggling to score in the fourth. He was huge and so was Rip (Hamilton)."

Thomas coached against the Pistons for the first time since taking over for Larry Brown in the offseason. The Hall of Famer led Detroit to back-to-back championships in 1989-90.

"Isiah's the same all the time," Knicks center Eddy Curry said. "I'm sure on the inside he's got a lot of emotions going on right now. What he displays to us is the same thing every time."

However, it was Detroit's current point guard who was the best player on floor.

Billups entered the paint at will, collapsing the defense to get his teammates easy shots and shooting an efficient 8-of-9 from the floor himself. It was an impressive performance after he collected 11 points and seven assists and committed five turnovers at Miami.

"I wanted to come out and be aggressive," Billups said. "I was horrible (Thursday) and I needed to fix that."

"Anytime you have 22 and 16, that's a pretty solid double-double for a point guard," Saunders said. "He came out aggressive, and you have to do that against Stephon (Marbury) and (Steve) Francis."

Prince benefited from his teammate's unselfish play, shooting 11-of-17 from the field and 6-of-7 from the arc, with many of his shots uncontested.

"Just got hot today, that's all," Prince said. "I've been shooting it well. Obviously, I won't shoot as many (3-pointers) as I did. But of course, I had it going, so that's why I shot that many. I might shoot two or three a game. Just one of those days."

"That's the result of a lot of hard work over the summer," Billups said. "(Tayshaun's) always been a really good shooter but now he's getting enough shots that he can get into a rhythm and really get going."

Trailing, 84-71, with seven minutes remaining, the Knicks went on a 12-2 spurt to close to 86-83 on reserve Kelvin Cato's two free throws with 5:20 left.

On the ensuing possession, Rasheed Wallace grabbed a long rebound of Hamilton's missed jumper and found Prince for a 3-pointer from the corner. New York got no closer.

"They made some tough shots. We got the one stop and we didn't get the rebound. Then Prince steps in the corner and he hit a three," Thomas said. "Then he comes back down and hits another long three from the wing. They made shots.

"They made timely shots to beat us. It didn't have anything to do with bad defense or anything like that. They had some shot-makers, and their shot-makers made shots. I'm proud of the way that our guys fought."

Curry scored 24 points and Jamal Crawford added 18 for the Knicks, who shot 43 percent (36-of-83).

"That's a good team. It's definitely one of those teams that's going to be around come late in the playoffs," Curry said. "We're just starting to come together and play well as a team. They've been doing it for a long time. We gave ourselves a chance to win, but just in the end, they made too many shots."

No one has shouted yet.
Be the first!