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Pistons don't miss Wallace in easy win over Clippers

Mar 12, 2007 - 12:40 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- The backcourt and frontcourt of the Detroit Pistons took turns covering for the absence of Rasheed Wallace.

Richard Hamilton scored 23 points and Chauncey Billups added 17 and 12 assists as the Pistons had no problems in a 98-80 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.

Although the pair of All-Star guards led the way on offense, it was the front line of center Chris Webber and forwards Tayshaun Prince and Jason Maxiell and reserve forward Antonio McDyess who compensated for the missing Wallace.

"That is the best part of this team," Webber said. "Some nights some guys take all the shots and sometimes we all shoot the ball. It is just a rhythm thing. We know (Hamilton) is going to get the ball at crunch time, but the rest of us show that we can show up at any time and make positive things happen."

Wallace, a talented but temperamental forward, received his 16th technical foul in Friday's win over Denver, drawing an automatic one-game suspension. It marked the second straight season Wallace exceeded the threshold.

Wallace's absence could have presented a problem on defense, but Webber, Maxiell and McDyess all took turns on Elton Brand and limited the star forward to 11 points on 4-of-12 shooting while forcing him into five turnovers. Maxiell had four blocks and McDyess two.

"Maxiell had great energy - four blocked shots - and I think he did about as good of a job as I've seen go 1-on-1 as far as Elton," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. "He's a load down there, but Maxie changed up and got behind Elton and we trapped him to keep him a little bit off balance."

"They make it tough with traps and stuff like that," Brand said. "I got stripped about three times. ... I do not mind being unselfish, but we have to find a way to win, whatever that is. I would definitely like to touch it more."

Hamilton made all eight of his shots and scored 17 points in the first half. Billups added 10 points - including a 40-footer at the buzzer - as Detroit grabbed a 47-43 lead.

"I think the last couple of times Rasheed was out, I think I shot the ball three times and Chauncey shot it four times and we didn't play our type of game," Hamilton said.

The Pistons began the second half with a 12-0 run in which all but two points were scored by the starting frontcourt. Webber had five points, including a free throw that opened a 59-43 lead with 6:55 left in the third quarter.

"They started to make a run and when he hit that 3-pointer (at the end of the half), it really gave us some momentum going into the second half," Hamilton said.

"We were a little disappointed with the way that second quarter ended up," Billups said. "We wanted to come out and make a stand the first five minutes of the third quarter. We tightened up a little bit and got some steals and fast-break baskets and kind of took control of the game."

The Clippers went more than six minutes before scoring in the second half and never really recovered, trailing by double digits the rest of the way in dropping their third straight game. Coach Mike Dunleavy was ejected during the scoreless stretch, receiving consecutive technical fouls.

Webber had 19 points and 11 rebounds and McDyess scored 17 points for the Pistons, who shot 54 percent (39-of-72) and improved to 2-0 on a five-game road trip.

Maxiell scored nine points and Prince added eight and five rebounds.

"The young fellow Jason Maxiell came in and played Elton Brand terrific," Billups said. "He got some baskets as well. We just played and tried to keep it rolling."

Corey Maggette scored 19 points and Tim Thomas added 16 for the Clippers, who were swept in the season series for the fourth straight year. They still hold the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

"I'm really disappointed in our mental toughness right now," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "We were careless with our passes and had a lot of turnovers (20). We just have to find a way to get better and do things that will be successful."

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