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Prince, Billups lead Pistons over Bucks

Dec 2, 2007 - 5:30 AM By JR Radcliffe PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MILWAUKEE (Ticker) -- The ice storm in Milwaukee on Saturday night was causing most of its havoc outside the walls of the Bradley Center, but inside the Milwaukee Bucks could not stop the skidding, either.

Tayshaun Prince scored 20 points and the Detroit Pistons sent the Bucks to their fourth straight loss in blowout fashion, 117-91.

Chauncey Billups finished with 18 points and Rasheed Wallace added 15 for the Pistons, who seized a lead at the three-minute mark in the first quarter and never rescinded their advantage.

"Right now, we're operating on all cylinders," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. "We're pretty efficient as far as offensively. To score as many points as we did and how effective we were, considering we started out kind like the weather the first six minutes - a little bit sloppy, lethargic and a little ineffective - we played our way into it and really started executing."

Milwaukee, which won five games in a row from November 14-24, has lost all four of its chances since, including setbacks against Philadelphia, Atlanta and New York.

"We disrespected three teams (during the losing streak), and the fourth team we played tonight was a great team and they bit us in the butt," Bucks center Andrew Bogut said. "It's not crisis mode, we're not in panic mode, but we definitely didn't come out and show those three teams respect and that really hurt us. The passion we had against the Lakers (on November 21) when the Bradley Center was sold out, we didn't carry that over."

Prince, who scored 12 points in the first half, hit a 3-pointer in the final seconds of the second quarter to give the Pistons a 56-42 edge into the locker room. Prince hit another long-range shot to open the scoring in the third quarter as Detroit cruised in the second half.

"You could see they were a little bit tired," Saunders said. "Especially after coming off a tough loss like they did last night (against the New York Knicks) ... to our credit, we jumped on it. We didn't let them hang around."

The Pistons hit all 14 of their free throws in the first 24 minutes, while the Bucks made just 4-of-9.

Milwaukee did have 12 assists in the first half after recording just 12 for the entire game in a loss one night earlier against the New York Knicks, but Detroit manhandled Milwaukee in rebounding for the half, 25-14.

"Our defense was great from the start of the game, as far as helping each other, rotating," Prince said. "Whenever you play aggressive defense to where all five guys are helping each other, it creates better things on offense. In the past, we've had trouble in Milwaukee games as far as offensive rebounds and being so aggressive defensively."

Billups converted on a three-point play with under 30 seconds to play in the third quarter, then picked up the assist on a 3-pointer from Prince, who gave Detroit its biggest lead of the night at 84-65 after three quarters. Billups had eight points and five assists in the third, and the Pistons did not turn the ball over once during the frame.

"That was a big quarter for our team," Billups said. "We were up 14 at half and we knew if we jumped on the first five minutes, we should be alright. We just had it going, man."

With the Pistons emptying their bench in the fourth quarter, reserve guard Ronald Murray took it upon himself to increase the lead, scoring all 16 of his points in the quarter, including a layup with 2:16 left in the game that gave Detroit a 111-82 advantage for its biggest lead of the game.

The Bucks were led by Bobby Simmons and Charlie Villanueva with 13 points each.

"In order to win and be successful and be a championship team, you've got to be consistent in your play," Bucks guard Michael Redd said. "We have not done that and I don't want this spiraling down to where it was last year - the atmosphere of losing in the Milwaukee Bucks organization. We want to breed winning. You lose four games in a row, you have to soul-search yourself."

Milwaukee's Dan Gadzuric left the game in the first quarter with a bloody nose and did not return after being taken to the locker room.

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