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Billups carries Pistons past lowly Bobcats

Dec 10, 2007 - 3:20 AM By Crystal Evola PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) - The Detroit Pistons learn quickly from their mistakes. Then again, that's what first-place teams do.

Chauncey Billups scored 20 points and Antonio McDyess added 19 and nine rebounds as the Pistons avoided getting beat up by a sub.-500 club with Sunday's convincing 104-85 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats.

Billups logged his fifth 20-point game of the season before taking a seat along with the rest of Detroit's starters for the bulk of the fourth quarter.

It was quite the turnaround for McDyess, who netted just four points on 2-of-10 shooting in Friday's loss against the Chicago Bulls.

"Well, after the awful shooting I had the last game, I just felt that I had to come out and give us a boost," McDyess said.

Detroit's height, athleticism and depth proved to be way too much for Charlotte to overcome in its attempt to win its first road game since November 4 at Miami.

Charlotte went almost five minutes without making a single field goal as the Pistons jumped out to an impressive 30-16 advantage after the first period.

"That's always the toughest thing when you get up like that," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. "I think the main thing why you do that is your bench comes in and gives you good energy and not only good energy, but good production."

"I thought it was a good first quarter for us," Billups said. "I thought we were aggressive. We drove those guys and took it to them and gaps opened up. (McDyess) got hot early and we kind of rode him. He got us off to a good start, and we just rode him and the game was never in jeopardy, really."

The Bobcats trailed, 56-45, at intermission as they were held to just 17-of-34 shooting in the opening half.

Former Michigan State standout Jason Richardson hit a 3-pointer with 10:22 remaining in the third that brought Charlotte within 56-50. But Detroit pulled away for good behind a 15-6 surge, capped by Rasheed Wallace's shot from the arc to make it 71-56 at the 5:13 mark.

The Pistons responded positively despite a third straight game in which Tayshaun Prince struggled. He has failed to reach double digits since scoring 23 points at Atlanta on December 4.

Richardson finished with 15 points and Emeka Okafor chipped in 14 for the Bobcats, who shot 43 percent (34-of-79) from the floor en route to falling to 1-5 here all-time.

"We ran out of gas way before the second half, we ran out of gas in the first five minutes of the game," Charlotte coach Sam Vincent said. "Right now, it is tough for us in back-to-back situations because we just don't have depth."

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