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Hayes matches career high as Pistons rout Hornets

Mar 16, 2008 - 10:47 PM AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) -- Jarvis Hayes already was having a good weekend - so a career performance did not surprise him.

Hayes scored 29 points off the bench to match his career high Sunday afternoon as the Detroit Pistons rolled to a 105-84 rout of the New Orleans Hornets.

Despite playing just over 25 minutes, Hayes also set a personal best with seven 3-pointers.

A Georgia alumnus, Hayes produced the sizzling performance the same day that his alma mater won the Southeastern Conference title to clinch an improbable automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

"I felt it right from the beginning today," the veteran swingman said. "Georgia made it to the SEC championship game, and I'm just riding their wave."

Hayes poured in 19 points during the second quarter and finished 10-of-13 from the floor, easily surpassing his previous season high of 18 points.

"(Hayes) is our best shooter, so we need him pulling the trigger," Pistons All-Star guard Chauncey Billups said. "He was awesome today."

Billups added 17 points for the Pistons, who sank a season-high 14 3-pointers to win for the ninth time in their last 12 games.

"They were knocking them down in the first half," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "Even when we got it within single digits, they would hit a big 3-pointer or something like that."

Detroit also was solid defensively, limiting the Hornets to their lowest point total in seven games. Peja Stojakovic scored 21 points for the Hornets, who have lost eight of their last nine meetings with the Pistons.

New Orleans was without All-Star forward David West, who was sidelined with a sprained right ankle. Hornets star point guard Chris Paul scored just 14 points, seven below his season average, but dished out 14 assists.

"I definitely couldn't attack like I wanted to," said Paul, who was slowed by a slightly injured left ankle. "But that's no excuse. I felt as long as I was out on the court, I could help our team.

"David West is an All-Star - any time he's not on the floor, different guys have to do things they're not used to."

Detroit trailed by as many as 13 points in the opening quarter before reeling off a 34-14 run bridging the first two periods. Hayes sparked the run with five 3-pointers over a span of nine minutes.

"When I'm out there, there is so much attention being paid to (our starters) that I'm going to be able to get open on the weak side," Hayes said.

"We knew coming in that we wanted to attack the weak side, and that's where Jarvis was," Pistons coach Flip Saunders added. "He was open, and our guys did a great job of getting him the ball."

Jason Maxiell also provided energy off the bench for the Pistons, scoring nine points and grabbing nine rebounds. The forward recorded a pair of highlight-reel blocks in the second quarter, delighting the crowd of 22,076 at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

"That was huge," Billups said. "Maxiell was big today."

Tayshaun Prince scored 13 points while Antonio McDyess grabbed 11 rebounds for the Pistons (48-18), who trail the Boston Celtics (52-13) by 4 1/2 games for first place in the Eastern Conference.

Melvin Ely, West's replacement in the starting lineup, scored 15 points for the Hornets (44-21), who fell 1 1/2 games behind the first-place Houston Rockets (46-20) in the Southwest Division.

The red-hot Rockets defeated the Los Angeles Lakers, 104-92, on Sunday to extend the NBA's second-longest winning streak to 22 games.

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