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Billups, Hamilton lead Pistons past Nets

Dec 17, 2006 - 5:55 AM EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton closed out the New Jersey Nets.

Billups scored 27 points and handed out 11 assists and Hamilton added 26 points as the Detroit Pistons tallied the last eight points for a 90-82 victory over the New Jersey Nets.

Despite playing without All-Star forward Rasheed Wallace, who sat out with a sore right ankle, the Pistons wrapped up a 3-1 road trip.

A 3-pointer by Jason Kidd drew the Nets even at 82-82 with 2 1/2 minutes left. That was New Jersey's last basket as Billups and Hamilton took over the contest.

Nearly a minute later, Hamilton answered with a jumper and Billups hit a banker from the wing for a four-point edge with 1:13 to go.

On the Nets' ensuing possession, Billups stripped Vince Carter - who had another bad game - and converted a finger roll on the other end, making it 88-82 with 50 seconds remaining. Hamilton added a pair of free throws 20 ticks later.

"Chauncey hit a huge shot," Detroit coach Flip Saunders said. "We controlled the tempo down the stretch. We caught them on back-to-back nights, which is nice. This was a game where we did not want to get it over 100 points. When you get into a running game on the road, it is a dangerous game."

Much of the Pistons' success was attributed to the play of the bench, which accounted for 20 points.

"Our bench was fabulous," Billups said. "I thought they won us the game. They gave us a chance to sit down, watch the game a little bit and come in with a lot of energy in the last four or five minutes."

"We got a big lift from our bench," Hamilton said. "(Jason) Maxiell did a great job. Without Rasheed, we wanted to stay within the offense. I didn't want to get overly aggressive, but the guys were getting me the ball in good position."

Maxiell finished with nine points, five rebounds, three blocks and a thunderous one-handed dunk over a Nets' defender.

Nenad Krstic scored a season-high 27 points and Kidd added 13, nine rebounds and eight assists for the Nets, who have dropped back-to-back games.

Carter matched his season low with 12 points, making just 5-of-21 shots. In Friday's setback to Toronto, he went 4-of-17 from the floor and missed all six 3-pointers.

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