Friday , Mar , 19 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Pistons win six straight; defensive streak ends

East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) – Chauncey Billups scored 20 points and
handed out eight assists to lead the Detroit Pistons past the New Jersey Nets,
89-71, at Continental Airlines Arena.

Rasheed Wallace collected 16 points and eight rebounds and Richard Hamilton
chipped in 15 points and nine boards for Detroit, which has won six in a row
and 10 of its last 11 contests.

Ben Wallace had 13 points and eight rebounds for the Pistons, who came within
one second of holding their sixth straight opponent under 70 points.

Richard Jefferson paced New Jersey with 19 points. Kerry Kittles and Kenyon
Martin each netted 13 points for the Nets, who have dropped two of their last
three games.

Mehmet Okur’s layup with 2:42 remaining in the third quarter staked Detroit to
a 68-49 advantage.

The Nets then stormed back. Jefferson’s jumper culminated a 14-2 burst that
pulled New Jersey within 70-63 with 5:44 left in the fourth period.

However, Rasheed Wallace answered with a three-pointer and Corliss Williamson
followed with consecutive baskets for the Pistons to push the margin back to
14 at 77-63 with 4:26 remaining.

After Jefferson sank a pair of foul shots, Rasheed Wallace nailed another
three-point shot to ignite an 11-0 spurt that gave Detroit a commanding 88-65
advantage with 2:18 left.

Aaron Williams’ tip-in for New Jersey with one second remaining accounted for
the final margin and snapped the Pistons’ NBA record streak of yielding less
than 70 points at five games. Williams pumped his fist after the basket.

“Maybe that was bigger to them than winning the game. That’s what it seemed
like to us,” said Rasheed Wallace. “They were down there cheering, so hey, let
them worry about that. We got what we came for.”

New Jersey took control early, scoring eight of the first 10 points of the
game. The Nets still led by six at 15-9, before Detroit went on a 6-0 run to
tie it.

The Pistons, behind nine points from Hamilton, led 20-19 after 12 minutes and
then opened the second quarter with a 15-6 spurt, keyed by six points from
Mike James, to take a 35-25 advantage.

Detroit continued to pour it on and stretched the lead to 48-29 on a three-
pointer by Billups with 2:37 left in the period. The Pistons eventually
carried a 54-35 advantage into the locker room.

Detroit was 12-of-21 from the floor in the second stanza and outscored New
Jersey 34-16. Hamilton and Billups each netted 11 points in the first half,
while Jefferson led the Nets in the opening 24 minutes with 12.

“There was a period in the second quarter when we defended as well as you
could ever defend,” said Detroit head coach Larry Brown.