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Billups, Wallace carry Pistons past Nets

Mar 31, 2007 - 4:21 AM AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) -- The Detroit Pistons brought out the broom against the New Jersey Nets and Chauncey Billups helped push it.

Billups collected 32 points and 14 assists and Rasheed Wallace added 22 points and three steals as the Pistons completed a season-series sweep over the New Jersey Nets with a 110-105 victory.

Billups made 7-of-17 shots and hit all 14 of his free throws to bounce back from his lackluster 12-point showing in Thursday's loss at Chicago.

"I just wanted to be a little more aggressive, especially after (Thursday)," Billups said. "I just wanted to try to come out and reverse that a little bit and get back on the right track as far as our team goes, and individually, play a little better."

"That's how (Billups) played last year for most of the year, really, and that's why he was an MVP candidate because he was aggressive offensively," Detroit coach Flip Saunders said. "He was aggressive defensively and when your point guard gets aggressive like that, it carries over to the rest of the team."

Despite the loss, New Jersey (33-39) remained in the Eastern Conference postseason picture, holding a two-game edge over New York (31-41) and Indiana for the eighth and final spot.

"We've got 10 games left," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "If we keep sharing the ball like we did, and we find a way to get stops, we'll be OK. But we haven't found that yet."

Antonio McDyess scored 18 points off the bench and Tayshaun Prince had 15, nine assists and eight rebounds for Detroit, which notched its first sweep of New Jersey since the 2000-01 campaign.

Lindsey Hunter drained a 3-pointer from the wing and McDyess added an 18-footer as Detroit grabbed the lead for good at 93-91 with 5:33 remaining in the fourth quarter.

"Lindsey hit big shots and and McDyess hit big shots," Saunders said.

The Nets made things interesting when Bostjan Nachbar hit a shot from the arc and rookie Josh Boone split a pair of free throws, cutting the lead to 105-103 with 17 seconds to go.

After Wallace sank 1-of-2 foul shots to make it a three-point edge, the Nets had a chance to tie, but Carter misfired from 3-point range.

"It felt good for a second, but it came up short," Carter said.

Billups hit the final four free throws to seal the victory as the Pistons improved to 22-13 at home this season.

Detroit starter Chris Webber returned to the rotation following a two-game absence with the flu. But All-Star Richard Hamilton missed his fourth in a row with the same ailment.

Vince Carter had 27 points and seven rebounds and Boone chipped in 16 for the Nets, who shot 50 percent (41-of-81) from the floor and were outscored, 39-29, in the final period.

"We had a great opportunity, but you can't give up 39 points in the fourth quarter to anyone in this league, much less that team," Nets guard Jason Kidd said. "They were aggressive and we didn't stop them."

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