for this game

Pistons rip Pacers for 10th straight win

Feb 14, 2008 - 4:06 AM By Dana Wakiji PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) - The Detroit Pistons have taken control of what used to be a great rivalry.

Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton scored 14 points apiece to lead the Pistons to their 10th consecutive victory - a 96-80 rout of the shorthanded Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.

Detroit heads into the All-Star break with a 39-13 record - second best in the league to the Boston Celtics.

"These games are dangerous games because you're right at the break and guys are ready to get going and have that break in the schedule," Billups said. "We came out and took care of business, put those guys away with them being so shorthanded."

Tayshaun Prince also had 14 points for Detroit, which swept the season series with the Pacers for the first time since the 1894-85 season, when it went 6-0.

"The Pistons are just a much better basketball team than we are," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said.

The Pistons broke the game open in the third quarter, limiting Indiana to 10 points and 14 percent shooting (3-of-22) to assume a commanding 77-52 advantage.

"Defensively I think we're helping each other out," Hamilton said. "Keeping everybody on a string. Everybody's starting to know where everybody's at on the floor. I think that's been a great thing for us."

It was the third straight home game in which Detroit has led by as many as 25 points.

Prince drilled a 3-pointer to build the Pistons' lead to 82-56 with 9 1/2 minutes to play before Indiana made a belated rally.

Four straight points from Ike Diogu capped an 18-5 run and whittled the huge deficit to 87-74 with 3:18 to play, but the lead never got under double digits.

"I think it was a good way to end before the break," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. "We won 10 in a row and we'll get some rest for five days and then get geared up for the second half."

The Pistons trailed briefly in the first quarter before going on a 16-6 run to take an early 20-13 lead and never trailed again. Hamilton had eight points in that span.

Indiana managed to cut that to 25-21 at the end of the first behind four points from Andre Owens off the bench.

With many of the starters resting on the bench in the second quarter, the Pistons went on a 19-9 run to move ahead by 14 points, 44-30. Billups played shooting guard while rookie Rodney Stuckey played the point and had six points in the run.

Leading at halftime, 55-42, Detroit broke things open with a 9-0 run. Jason Maxiell converted a three-point play and Billups and Hamilton buried 3-pointers to boost the margin to 73-50 with just under 3 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter.

"We came out dead," O'Brien said of the third. "We didn't have any legs, and you can't play that badly against a team competing for a championship."

Diogu scored 14 points to lead Indiana, which was missing Jermaine O'Neal and Jamaal Tinsley.

Mike Dunleavy had 11 points for Indiana, which now has its worst record at the All-Star break since the 1991-92 season.

"We didn't do anything," Dunleavy said. "Give them credit, they played well, but we didn't do anything."

O'Neal missed his 13th straight game because of a bone bruise on his left knee and Tinsley sat out his fourth consecutive game and seventh of the last 10 with a sore left knee. Travis Diener also was with a sore right foot.

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