for this game

Prince, Pistons continue home dominance of Raptors

Jan 22, 2009 - 4:31 AM By Chuck Klonke PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) -- The Detroit Pistons needed a Prince to continue their dominance of the Toronto Raptors at The Palace.

Tayshaun Prince scored 25 points Wednesday to lead the Pistons to a 95-76 victory against the Raptors, who dropped their seventh straight game.

"I call him the 'quiet assassin,'" Jason Maxiell said of Prince. "He just quietly gets the job done."

"I thought Tay was aggressive all night," Detroit coach Michael Curry said. "He let the game come to him. He saw the opportunity to attack offensively and we moved the ball really good and got him some open shots."

Prince downplayed his performance.

"When the opportunity presents itself, I try to take advantage of it and get into a rhythm," Prince said. "We have so many people on this team who can score, so we tend to go to the person who's in a rhythm. I had it in the third quarter."

It marked Detroit's 11th consecutive home win over Toronto, a streak that dates to April 2, 2003. The Pistons have won 13 of their last 16 meetings overall and are 21-6 all-time against the Raptors at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

It was also Detroit's first double-digit margin of victory since December 17.

The game marked the debut of the Pistons' revised starting lineup. Richard Hamilton came off the bench for the first time since he joined Detroit in 2002. The switch didn't provide an immediate impact as Hamilton finished with seven points.

"It's only one game (with the lineup change)," Prince said. "There are a lot of expectations. We'll just have to see how it goes."

Amir Johnson, who replaced Hamilton as a starter, was scoreless in seven minutes and was guarding Chris Bosh when the Raptors' forward scored eight points in the first 4 1/2 minutes.

Although Johnson didn't give the Pistons the lift they hoped for, Jason Maxiell did. Maxiell came off the bench and scored 16 points, pulled down a season-high 11 rebounds and provided some solid defensive play.

"MC (Curry) told me to always be ready and the last couple of games," Maxiell said. "I've been ready and I've been playing consistently."

Bosh led Toronto with 19 points and Andreas Bargnani added 16.

"We didn't move the ball like we're capable of," Bosh said. "We were standing there looking and we were trying to force a couple of plays in the possessions."

Toronto jumped out to a 10-2 lead, but Detroit closed the gap to 22-17 at the end of the first quarter, sparked by Maxiell's eight points.

The Pistons took the lead for the first time in the game, 29-28, on a running jumper by Prince with 8:14 left in the first half. Prince had 11 points in the second quarter, sending Detroit into the break with a 46-43 edge.

Prince added 12 more points in the third as the Pistons outscored the Raptors, 30-19, in the quarter to grab a 76-62 lead entering the final period.

"Even though Amir probably didn't get as many touches as he should have, he does a good job of creating space," Prince said. "Our ball movement was very good tonight.

"Toronto throws so many different defensive matchups at you. When they had the bigger lineup, it gave us the opportunity to run and when they went with the smaller lineup we could go inside. We did a good job of recognizing what was available to us."

Prince hit consecutive 3-pointers to cap a 13-4 run that gave Detroit a 70-57 advantage with just over three minutes remaining in the third.

"We tried to go inside and we just couldn't score," Toronto coach Jay Triano said. "We missed a couple of shots and got deflated. Whenever we get down, we lose confidence in ourselves."