Wallace, Pistons embarrass Shaq, SunsFeb 25, 2008 - 5:11 AM PHOENIX (Ticker) -- Rasheed Wallace and the Detroit Pistons made a bid to gain ground in the Eastern Conference by making a loud statement against one of the top teams in the West.
Wallace scored 22 points Sunday afternoon to pace six players in double figures as the Pistons rolled to a wire-to-wire 116-86 rout of the Phoenix Suns.
It was the 12th victory in the last 14 contests for Detroit (41-15), which remains two games behind the Boston Celtics for first place in the Eastern Conference and the best mark in the NBA.
"This was a big game for us," said Pistons All-Star guard Chauncey Billups, who finished with 14 points and 11 assists. "You know how we are when we play against other elite teams, we lock in. We lock in big time."
Two days removed from a 27-point triumph over the Milwaukee Bucks, the Pistons certainly looked locked in while dominating a game billed as a potential NBA Finals preview.
"Our guys have played in so many big games, a lot of times when they get a big game in the regular season, they get juiced up a little bit," Detroit coach Flip Saunders said. "I thought that we were extremely focused both offensively and defensively."
Detroit owned a comfortable 59-41 halftime advantage and led by as many as 36 points in the third quarter, handing the Suns their most lopsided loss since a 110-72 defeat at New Jersey last March 27.
"It's embarrassing, it's disappointing, it's everything," said Suns guard Steve Nash, who had just 11 points and six assists. "It's tough, no matter whom you play, to lose by 30 points."
Wallace was outstanding despite playing just 26 minutes, shooting 8-of-10 from the floor and making all five of his free throws while constantly outplaying Suns center Shaquille O'Neal.
"Against Shaq, you've got to man up," Wallace said. "You are going to take some of those elbows, you are going to be slung around a bit, so you got to man up."
Richard Hamilton scored 18 points and Jarvis Hayes added a season-high 18 points off the bench, making 4-of-7 shots from the arc. Antonio McDyess finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds while Tayshaun Prince chipped in 10 points for the Pistons, who have won four of their last five meetings with the Suns.
"I thought everybody played good today," Billups said. "It was a great team effort against a great team."
Phoenix (38-18) suffered its worst loss in recent memory and saw their 11-game winning streak vs. Eastern opponents end.
The normally high-flying Suns shot just 42 percent (32-of-77) from the floor, allowed the Pistons to shoot 52 percent (46-of-89) and found themselves at a 48-32 disadvantage on the glass despite having the two biggest players on the floor in O'Neal and Amare Stoudemire.
"It seemed like they couldn't miss," said O'Neal, who had eight points and 11 rebounds in his third game with the Suns. "It was just one of those games. Everyone was flat, including myself."
Stoudemire was the one bright spot in an otherwise embarrassing performance for the Suns, scoring 31 points and making 11-of-12 free throws.
But Phoenix looked completely listless two days removed from an impressive 85-77 victory here over Boston.
"Maybe we used all the adrenaline left the last two games," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "Emotionally we've been up on a high for the last three days, and you wake up on Sunday at noon and we're not quite ready to play."
PHOENIX 86 FINAL
Feb 24 4:54 PM
PHOENIX 58 END, 3RD QTR
Feb 24 4:20 PM
PHOENIX 41 HALFTIME
Feb 24 3:35 PM
PHOENIX 16 END, 1ST QTR
Feb 24 2:59 PM
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