for this game

Maxiell, Murray star in rare starts for Pistons

Mar 26, 2007 - 12:17 AM MILWAUKEE (Ticker) -- Even with two of his main cogs on the sidelines, Detroit Pistons coach Flip Saunders was not concerned.

Jason Maxiell and Flip Murray took advantage of rare starts and combined for 35 points and reserve Antonio McDyess sparked a big second-quarter outburst as the Pistons coasted for a 121-95 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.

Tayshaun Prince added 28 points on 10-of-18 shooting for Detroit (44-25), which shot 57 percent (49-of-86) from the floor and moved two games ahead of Cleveland (42-27) for the best record in the Eastern Conference. The Cavaliers host Denver later Sunday.

"I've said over the last four games, we have a better plus-minus with our subs on the floor than our starters," Saunders said. "So as a coach, you become more apt to go to those other guys a little bit earlier.

"The positives are our bench continues to play well with Murray, McDyess and (Carlos) Delfino - those guys all played well. Then you look at Maxiell, another bench player that comes in and has a great game."

The Pistons played without leading scorer Richard Hamilton, who was out with the flu, and leading rebounder Rasheed Wallace, who was serving his second one-game suspension after picking up his 18th technical foul of the season in Saturday's 90-89 loss to San Antonio. By NBA rule, starting with the 16th technical foul, players are suspended one game for every second technical.

"We've had guys sick and banged up and a lot of stuff going on," said Pistons guard Chauncey Billups, who scored 12 points. "Coming into a game like this, it's a scary game with two of your starters missing. But we had two guys come off the bench and play great and carry the team. You can't complain. That's what team is all about."

Maxiell took Wallace's spot and scored 19 points on 9-of-13 shooting and added 15 rebounds.

"We keep him chained up," Detroit coach Flip Saunders said. "When we let him loose, we feel sorry for the other team because he really goes. Our other guys have been playing so well, it's been tough to play him. We somehow have to find time, even just a few minutes, to get him out there because he does change the complexion of the game."

"The absence of (Wallace) and (Chris Webber) was sick himself, I had to fill that need," Maxiell said. "Down low, it was a good feeling getting offensive rebounds and blocking shots and playing the game."

Murray started in place of Hamilton and converted 6-of-10 shots for 16 points. He added five assists.

"I'm just going with the flow of the game," Murray said. "I'm not going out there to score every time. If I have a chance to make something happen when I get the ball, I'm definitely going to try to be aggressive. I just want to go with the flow and try to get everyone else involved."

McDyess converted 6-of-7 shots and scored 13 points in the second quarter as the Pistons made 16-of-20 shots and outscored the Bucks, 37-18, to take a 15-point lead at the half. Prince and Murray added six points during the period.

"It was a barrage," Milwaukee coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "I would say they were more aggressive. Tayshaun had a nice night. Maxiell had maybe a double-double at halftime, so they had some energy guys that were getting some things done."

The Bucks got as close as 12 points early in the third quarter, trailed, 86-73, after the third quarter, but the Pistons put away the game with a 10-0 run to start the fourth. Prince scored a couple of baskets and Delfino added a shot from the arc during the spurt.

McDyess finished with 20 points on 9-of-13 shooting and added nine rebounds.

Ersan Ilyasova scored 21 points and Charlie Bell scored 17 for Milwaukee, which has lost six of its last nine contests.

"It's easy to throw the towel in, but we're going to see how professional we (are) as a team," Bucks point guard Mo Williams said. "How much character we have as a team and just get through this time."

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