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Webber helps Pistons improve to 3-0 on West Coast swing

Mar 14, 2007 - 6:07 AM SEATTLE (Ticker) -- Thanks to Chris Webber, the Detroit Pistons continue to roll out West.

Chris Webber scored 24 points and each Detroit starter reached double figures as the Pistons posted a 101-97 victory over the slumping Seattle SuperSonics, who dropped their fourth game in a row.

Tayshaun Prince scored 18 points and Rasheed Wallace had 15 and three blocks for Detroit, which is 3-0 on its five-game tour of the Western Conference.

"Everyone was saying that it would be a good trip if we got three (wins) but I am a little greedy," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said.

"We haven't played great, but I'm happy with the wins," Detroit guard Chauncey Billups said. "We probably could have made it easier on ourselves in these last two games. We probably made it a little harder than it should have been, but 3-0 on the road, that's great."

It was Wallace's first game back following his one-game suspension for picking up his 17th technical on March 9. He shot 5-of-15 and pulled four rebounds.

"I wasn't gone that long and I have to get warm," Wallace said about his slow start. "This '57 Chevy has to warm up a little bit. (Chris) Wilcox took advantage of that in the first quarter like he's supposed to. After we got warm all that ceased."

Since Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars decided to sign Webber for the remainder of the season, Detroit has posted an impressive 19-6 record with Webber as a starter.

The Pistons have won their last two visits to Seattle, including a thrilling 98-96 triumph last season, when All-Star Richard Hamilton scored the game-winning basket in the final seconds on March 3.

Despite Tuesday's win, Detroit (40-22) is still just two games in front of Cleveland (39-25), which also won earlier, for first place in the Eastern Conference standings.

Ray Allen's 3-pointer with 1:55 remaining brought the Sonics within 96-95. But on the ensuing possession, Billups drained a shot from the arc of his own 14 seconds later.

Two free throws by Allen made it 99-97, but the SuperSonics were never able to draw any closer as they missed several key opportunities, including Allen's floater with seven seconds remaining.

"I practiced just that shot," said Allen, who became Seattle's all-time 3-point shooter. "It looked like it was going to go in. That's disappointing, I let the team down."

Hamilton sank two free throws to seal the win.

Allen collected 27 points and seven rebounds and Wilcox chipped in 21 points and three steals for the Sonics, who shot 47 percent (36-of-76) from the field.

Seattle's (25-39) still has slim hopes of making the postseason, trailing the Los Angeles Clippers (29-34) by five games in the Western Conference.

"Those are games that we really need, especially down the stretch," Wilcox said. "Here we are in a playoff run and five or six of those games like this and we would be right in the eighth seed."








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