McDyess, Pistons rout shorthanded NetsApr 5, 2008 - 3:58 AM By Chuck Klonke PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) - Antonio McDyess and Rasheed Wallace made the New Jersey Nets' playoff hopes fade farther away Friday night.
McDyess scored 19 points and Wallace added 17 to lead the Detroit Pistons earn their seventh straight home victory with a convincing 106-87 victory over the slumping Nets, who dropped their fourth in a row.
The loss put New Jersey (31-45) four games behind Atlanta (35-41) for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.
After resting starters Wallace, Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton last time out, coach Flip Saunders went with his regular lineup against a New Jersey squad that was without leading scorer Vince Carter.
Carter, who was averaging 26.1 points over his last 11 games, sat out due to a sore right ankle.
"They were able to load up hard on Richard (Jefferson), and our bigs had some opportunities around the rim that we didn't finish," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "Lots of teams have to play without their guys. You have to find a way to win anyway."
"We just need to keep fighting and playing hard without him," said Jefferson, who scored 15 points. "We didn't get to this point by saying, you can't do that. You just need to keep playing hard and keep hoping for the best."
The Pistons led the entire game and held a double-figure edge for most of the second quarter as Wallace scored nine of his 15 first-half points in the quarter to help create a 55-41 advantage at halftime.
"The amount of second-chance points we gave up was too much when you're playing one of the best teams in the NBA," Frank said. "In the first half, we gave up 14 second-chance points and we got outrebounded by 17. They were dominant."
Saunders has been trying to limit the minutes of his veteran starters so that they will be rested for the playoffs.
"Hopefully our guys understand that we're going to play them 22 to 24 minutes," Saunders said. "If we can play and keep our rhythm and our concentration like we have been, I think it's going to be more beneficial than just totally shutting down.
"You know the minutes are going to be limited, so all you have to do is go out there and push," McDyess said. "You give everything you have for the minutes that you're out there."
Billups likes the way Saunders has been distributing the minutes.
"It's a fine line, but he's done a good job," said Billups, who netted 10 points in 22 minutes. "He's letting us keep our rhythm, but at the same time letting the other guys get significant minutes."
McDyess poured in 11 points in the third as the Pistons increased their lead to 81-60 going into the fourth.
"I've been going out before practice to get my rhythm and my timing back," McDyess said.
"'Dyess has got into his shooting groove in the last week and a half," Saunders said. "It was like shooting practice for him out there."
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