Saturday , Apr , 24 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Pistons take 2-1 series lead, reclaim homecourt advantage

=== Pistons take 2-1 series lead, reclaim homecourt advantage ===

Milwaukee, WI (Sports Network) – Chauncey Billups scored 21 points and Richard
Hamilton added 17 as the Detroit Pistons used a big third-quarter rally to
defeat the Milwaukee Bucks, 95-85, in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference
quarterfinal series at the Bradley Center.

Ben Wallace added 13 points, 21 rebounds and three blocked shots for the
Pistons, who avenged a home loss in Game 2 and took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-
seven series with a big win on the road.

Michael Redd and Desmond Mason each scored 19 points to pace the Bucks, who
saw a 12-point lead in the first half evaporate into a 10-point loss.

Game 4 is scheduled for Monday night in Milwaukee.

“In terms of being real solid, the second half tonight was probably our best,”
said Detroit head coach Larry Brown. “We gave them one shot, mostly jump
shots, and that was the key. Our big people dominated the boards. We got some
huge blocks.”

Detroit started the third quarter with a 23-4 run that turned a seven-point
halftime deficit into a 12-point lead. A driving dunk by Wallace with
9:54 left in the third gave the Pistons their first lead of the game at 51-49.
A three-point play by Billups with 6:08 remaining in the third put Detroit up
65-53.

A three-point play by Prince gave the Pistons a 69-57 lead with 4:20 left in
the third, but Milwaukee used a 10-0 spurt to pull within two. A layup by Redd
capped that run and cut Detroit’s lead to 69-67 with 1:30 left in the period.
However, the Pistons wound up taking a 74-68 advantage into the fourth
quarter.

Detroit never relinquished the lead, but a fast-break slam by Joe Smith with
4:20 to play pulled the Bucks to within 85-84.

But the Pistons outscored Milwaukee 10-1 the rest of the way, as the Bucks
missed their final nine shots of the game.

A free throw by Mason trimmed Detroit’s lead to 91-85 with 2:53 to play, but
Billups went 4-for-4 from the free throw line over the final 31 seconds to
seal the victory for Detroit.

Prince finished the game with 16 points, eight rebounds and four blocks while
Rasheed Wallace collected 10 points and 11 boards for the Pistons, who shot 46
percent (33-of-72) from the field and went 24-of-33 from the foul line.

Smith had 16 points and five blocks and Jones chipped in with 14 points and
seven assists for the Bucks, who shot 37 percent (30-of-81) from the field and
were 19-for-26 from the charity stripe.

“We had a good opportunity and let it slip away,” said Smith. “We’re all
disappointed because we could’ve controlled our effort. But for some reason,
we came out kind of lackadaisical in the third quarter.”

Detroit dominated the glass, outrebounding Milwaukee by a 52-36 margin.

Milwaukee jumped out to an early 12-point lead as a three-pointer by Damon
Jones made it 23-11 with 4:26 left in the first quarter.

The Bucks took a 30-22 lead into the second quarter and went up by 12, again,
on a three-point play by Brevin Knight that made it 41-29 with 6:36 left in
the period. Detroit pulled to within three at 41-38 on a Tayshaun Prince hook
shot with 3:37 remaining in the second, but Milwaukee wound up taking a 49-42
lead into halftime.

DET MIL