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Billups leads fourth-quarter rally as Pistons edge Mavericks

Oct 17, 2008 - 2:46 AM AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) -- The Detroit Pistons caught fire in the fourth quarter, storming back from a big deficit to stun the Dallas Mavericks, 85-81, on Thursday night.

Chauncey Billups' long jumper with 1:19 left in the final quarter gave the Pistons their first lead since the first quarter, and they held on to win for the fifth time in six preseason games. Detroit used a 31-11 run to secure the victory.

The Mavericks were in control for most of the game, holding a 15-point lead as late as the fourth quarter.

But instead of resting their starters in the closing minutes - as teams typically do during the preseason - the Pistons left their first unit on the floor, and the move paid off. Tayshaun Prince, Richard Hamilton and Billups each knocked down a 3-pointer and the team hit 12 straight free throws in the final nine minutes to erase the deficit.

Billups buried a pull-up 3-pointer with 2:28 left to cut the deficit to 78-76, and Prince dropped in a reverse layup one possession later to make it a one-point game at 79-78.

With the Mavericks looking inside to extend their lead, Pistons forward Jason Maxiell stuffed Brandon Bass' dunk attempt and Billups took over on the other end, draining a jumper with his toe on the line as Detroit took a one-point edge.

Antoine Wright misfired on a chance to give the Mavericks back the lead before Billups and Hamilton iced the victory from the free-throw line.

Hamilton led all scorers with 17 points on 6-of-15 shooting, while Billups added 16 and seven assists for the Pistons, who shot just 32 percent (26-of-82) from the floor.

Dallas reserve point guard Jose Juan Barea left the game early in the fourth quarter, going down with an apparent left ankle injury on an awkward drive to the basket.

Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks with 15 points. Bass added 13 and nine rebounds and Jason Kidd scored 11, committing six turnovers while dishing out four assists.

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