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Hamilton, Pistons sweep Pacers

Dec 30, 2007 - 4:19 AM INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- The Indiana Pacers have seen too much of Richard Hamilton lately.

Hamilton scored 24 points and Chauncey Billups added 17 as the Detroit Pistons finished off a home-and-home sweep of the Pacers with a 98-92 victory on Saturday night.

Hamilton continued his strong play by hitting 9-of-15 shots from the floor, including a huge 3-pointer in the final minute. The nine-year veteran scored 23 points and dished out nine assists in a 114-101 win over Indiana at home on Friday.

Detroit, which has now won eight straight and 15 of 17, held the Pacers to just two field goals in the final 5:43.

"This was really a tough game tonight," Hamilton said. "They came out tough, we didn't play like we did (Friday), and it was a really tough game all around. I think both teams came out and played really physical, and that is OK by us."

"We kind of knew it was going to be a tough game after last night," Billups said. "It was a tough game, but I was glad the way we played down the stretch."

Indiana was much more competitive than it was on Friday thanks to Mike Dunleavy and Danny Granger's bounce-back efforts. Dunleavy scored 13 of his 18 in the first half and Granger added 15 a night after the duo was held to a combined 17 points.

"They are a tough team," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "We put ourselves in position to win the game but came up short. I thought it was a very solid performance."

"Our effort was definitely there tonight," said Pacers guard Kareem Rush, who scored 10 points. "We came out on a mission to prove we were not as bad as it appeared the night before. We were embarrassed.

"We had some pretty good looks there down the stretch and, if they had fallen, the result could have been different. It's not a matter of playing good and staying with a good team like this. We want to win."

The Pacers trailed by single digits throughout the the final five minutes. But Hamilton provided the dagger by drilling a shot from the arc to extend the lead to 96-89 with 45 seconds left.

Granger hit a 3-pointer to make it a one-point game at 86-85 with 5:43 remaining.

However, Indiana went cold the rest of the way, and Detroit went on a 8-3 run to seal the win and provide the final margin - highlighted by Hamilton's shot and capped by two free throws by Tayshaun Prince with six seconds left.

"Certainly, we had some good looks, but I would assume after watching the tape that Detroit had something to do with shutting us down," O'Brien said.

"We didn't have anything special drawn up at the end," Hamilton said. "We are all just comfortable with each other when it counts."

Jermaine O'Neal had 20 points and 11 rebounds for Indiana, which started Andre Owens at point guard in place of the injured Jamaal Tinsley.

"It's tough to play a team back-to-back," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. "We shot it well, we hung in there."

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