for this game

Billups, Pistons race past Roy-less Blazers

Feb 9, 2008 - 4:59 AM By Chuck Klonke PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) - All-Star Chauncey Billups set the tone and then gave way to the Detroit Pistons' youngsters.

Billups scored 17 points in the first quarter and triggered a decisive run with a pair of free throws as the Pistons rolled to a 91-82 victory against the undermanned Portland Trail Blazers on Friday.

The victory was the seventh straight for Detroit, which hasn't lost since January 21, when Orlando escaped with a 102-100 win on Rashard Lewis' last-second shot.

Portland was missing All-Star swingman Brandon Roy, who was not with the team because of a death in the family. He also will sit out Saturday's game at Indiana but should rejoin the team in Houston on Monday.

"You don't want to think one player makes that much difference, but they manhandled us," Portland coach Nate McMillan said. "They were more aggressive and physical and forced us into some turnovers.

"At times, we got outhustled. There's no excuse to come out without a sense of urgency. Brandon's a big part of this team but not the entire team."

The win was also a bit of revenge for the Pistons, who dropped a 102-94 setback at Portland on November 13.

"I think them beating us at their place had more to do with coming out aggressive than their missing Brandon Roy," Billups said. "Of course, they're a little different without their best player. He's a handful."

Richard Hamilton's jumper broke a 13-13 tie with 3:36 left in the first quarter and sparked an impressive 24-5 run by the Pistons, who led by 27 points at one stage in the first half.

"Chauncey was aggressive in the first quarter and set the tone offensively and defensively," McMillan said. "They pretty much had control of the game from the start. Their bench came in and were the aggressors."

With the majority of Detroit's starters on the bench, rookie Rodney Stuckey and Amir Johnson each scored nine points in the second quarter to help forge a 59-35 edge at halftime.

"A couple times Flip (Saunders) wanted to send us back into the game and we said, 'Naw, let them play. We're having too much fun watching them,'" Billups said. "That was awesome to watch those young guys go out there and play. They played with reckless abandon, and it was beautiful."

Billups wasn't bothered by the lack of playing time after the first quarter.

"If the game was tight, I'm sure I would have played a lot more, stayed aggressive and kept doing what I was doing, but when we get out to a lead like that and the young guys can increase the lead, I'd rather just sit and watch," he said. "There will be plenty of times when I can continue to have a big night, but the growth of those guys is going to help us late in the season."

Stuckey finished with a season-high 13 points while Johnson added 10 and three blocks in helping Detroit's bench hold a 40-31 scoring edge.

"Flip just wants us to go in there and be aggressive and push the ball up the court," Stuckey said. "We're kind of different from the starting five. When the young guys get in, we want to make some plays."

Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince combined to pour in 17 points in the third as the Pistons carried an 81-57 advantage into the final quarter and never looked back.

LaMarcus Aldridge was the lone bright spot with 22 points for the Trail Blazers, who dropped the opener of their four-game road trip.