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Hamilton, Pistons clamp down on Sixers to end skid

Jan 24, 2008 - 4:38 AM PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- The Detroit Pistons got back to the basics and snapped a season-high, three-game skid.

Richard Hamilton scored 21 points to help the Detroit Pistons to a 86-78 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday.

Detroit, which had allowed 100 or more points in four of its last eight games, clamped down on Philadelphia to avoid its first four-game skid since 2004-05.

"We got back to the basics," Hamilton said. "We got back to helping each other out. We tried to defend as five and tried to make the easy plays."

"We made some buckets and, defensively, our guys really got on it," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. "We mixed up our rotations, and that made for some much-needed energy."

The Pistons bounced back from a disheartening loss to Orlando at the buzzer on Monday by pounding the 76ers, who they have beaten in eight of the last nine meetings.

"We've been having a tough time with all games and the traveling," Hamilton said. "We definitely wanted to get a win and get back on track."

Detroit closed the first half on a 18-5 run to take a 50-41 lead after two periods and controlled the game the rest of the way.

Trailing, 64-54, the Sixers used a 9-4 run to pull within 68-63 with 17 seconds left in the third. But Billups hit a pair of free throws to push the lead to 70-63 entering the final period.

Both teams struggled to start the fourth as a free throw by Philadelphia guard Louis Williams was the only point in the first three minutes.

The Pistons shot just 6-of-21 in the final period, allowing the Sixers to hang around until the end.

But Philadelphia trailed the entire fourth quarter mainly because Rasheed Wallace finally began contributing. Held scoreless all game, Wallace scored seven points in less than two minutes to give the Pistons a 79-67 lead with 4:52 remaining.

Wallace hit a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer to make the score 79-67, but Willie Green answered with a shot from the arc to cut the lead to 79-70.

"We just played, we just had to," Wallace said. "We just had to pick it up and play team ball. It was not an individual thing. It's just a matter of playing team ball."

The team's traded baskets until Andre Miller's layup cut the lead to 83-76 with 2:15 remaining. However, that was as close as Philadelphia would get.

Tayshaun Prince hit a layup with 39 seconds left and Hamilton hit a free throw to close the scoring for Detroit and put the game out of reach.

"This was a much-needed win especially the way we have been playing of late," said Prince, who scored 16 points. "We played on a consistent basis only in the second quarter, but we'll take it."

Green scored 16 points and Andre Iguodala added 15 for Philadelphia, which has lost four straight here to Detroit and 10 of 12 overall.

"To win this game, we knew that we would have to get easy baskets," Green said. "We didn't do everything that we needed to do to win the game. We got beat by a veteran championship team."

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