Hamilton, Billups struggle but Pistons beat Sixers anywayNov 24, 2007 - 5:38 AM By Chuck Klonke PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) - On a night when their starting backcourt was colder than the sub-freezing temperatures outside the Palace, the Detroit Pistons' front court took over.
Tayshaun Prince led the way with 15 points, Jason Maxiell had 14 and Antonio McDyess added 12 to lead the Pistons to an 83-78 victory against the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday.
Starting guards Richard Hamilton (4-for-16) and Chauncey Billups (3-for-9) combined for only 22 points. Hamilton was battling flu-like symptoms and played only 29 minutes.
"It's a team effort," Maxiell said. "Whoever gets it going on the offensive end, just keeps going."
The Pistons played without starting center Rasheed Wallace, who has a bruised left knee. Maxiell started in place of Wallace.
"When I'm starting, my mindset is to stay out of foul trouble, but that's something I can't really do because I'm an aggressive-type player," said Maxiell, who got into some early foul trouble and had to sit out most of the first quarter.
Philadelphia shot only 39 percent from the field, while Detroit hit 41.5 percent of its field-goal attempts.
"That was one of those games that was like going to the dentist," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. "It was like pulling teeth. I think both times we got up today (by 10 points) we came down and gave up a three-point play. That gives them life to get back into it."
Prince scored nine points in the third quarter, seven of them during a 12-4 surge at the end of the period as the Pistons increased their lead to 64-54 going into the final quarter.
"Tay got it going in the third quarter and I just tried to keep going to him," Billups said. "We tried to ride him because we had been looking for somebody to get it going for us."
Detroit was unable to pull away in the fourth quarter and Philadelphia cut the lead to 77-73 on a pair of free throws by Louis Williams with 3:37 remaining.
Philadelphia failed to score on its next six possessions, but after Maxiell put the Pistons ahead 79-73, Andre Miller hit a basket and Andre Iguodala sank a three-point basket with 14.4 seconds left to cut Detroit's lead to 79-78.
Billups was fouled immediately and made both free throws. Iguodala missed a three-point attempt with five seconds to go and Hamilton secured the Detroit victory when he drove for a layup with one second remaining.
"We just played Pistons basketball," Maxiell said of Detroit's defensive effort down the stretch. "We locked up on the defensive end, got the main stops and got a couple of big baskets."
Rookie Arron Afflalo scored two baskets during a 10-0 run that started late in the first quarter and continued into the second. Afflalo hit four of his five shots from the field in the first half and led the Pistons with eight points at the break.
"I think our whole second unit came in and did a great job," said Afflalo. "We came in and defended, made good unselfish plays and were able to up the score a little."
Detroit led 35-25 with 4:12 remaining in the first half, but the Sixers ended the first half on a 13-5 run to cut the lead to 40-38. Willie Green, who led all scorers with 10 points in the half, and Reggie Evans each converted three-point plays during the late surge.
"We all battled," said Green, who averaged 21.5 points in the four games against the Pistons last year, but had only 13 on Friday. "It was really a defensive game. You have to tip your hat to the Pistons. They did what they do and they came out with a win at the end.
"We're playing against a team that has won a championship and still has all of their core guys. They know how to win basketball games. Those are the things that we have to look at and build on for the next game."
Iguodala led Philadelphia with 17 points and Miller finished with 14.
Detroit has won seven of the last eight meetings with Philadelphia.
DETROIT 83 FINAL
Nov 23 10:31 PM
DETROIT 64 END, 3RD QTR
Nov 23 9:54 PM
HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
--- --- --- --- -----
PHILADELPHIA 17 21 38
DETROIT 17 23 40 HALFTIME
HIGH SCORERS AT HALFTIME
PHI - WILLIE GREEN 10, ANDRE MILLER 8, REGGIE
DET - ARRON AFFLALO 8, ANTONIO MCDYESS 6,
TAYSHAUN PRINCE 6
Nov 23 9:11 PM
DETROIT 17 END, 1ST QTR
Nov 23 8:36 PM
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