Tuesday , Jan , 10 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Hamilton leads Pistons over Hornets; Paul returns to lineup

Oklahoma City, OK (Sports Network) – Richard Hamilton poured in 30 points to
pace Detroit to a 96-86 victory over the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets at
the Ford Center.

Chauncey Billups contributed 18 points and six assists for the Pistons, who
have won three of their last four contests and continue to carry the best
record in the NBA at 27-5. Rasheed Wallace added 15 points and Tayshaun
Prince scored 12 for Detroit.

Chris Paul, who was originally expected to be sidelined two weeks with a torn
ligament in his right thumb, started and scored 13 points in the Hornets’
second straight defeat. David West topped the Hornets with 20 points, while
Speedy Claxton scored 18.

Paul suffered his injury during Friday’s 90-80 Hornets win over Portland, but
the rookie guard returned Tuesday and shot 4-of-14 from the field, and
finished with five assists in 34 minutes.

The Pistons scored the final eight points of the third quarter. A Claxton
layup had the Hornets within 66-64 with 1:10 left, but Hamilton made a basket,
and Prince and Carlos Arroyo followed with three-pointers.

Two free throws by Paul had the Hornets within 80-79 with 6:20 remaining. but
Detroit countered with the next 12 points to pull away for good. Billups and
Wallace drilled three-pointers to cap the spurt, giving the Pistons a 92-79
cushion with 3:39 remaining.

Ben Wallace pulled down 12 rebounds for Detroit.

Kirk Snyder had 13 points and Desmond Mason scored 10 for New Orleans/Oklahoma
City.

The Hornets led by a point after the first quarter and were ahead 45-42 at the
half.

Game Notes

Arroyo ended with eight points and fouled out with 7:43 remaining on a
questionable call. He went into a tirade and bumped referee Rodney
Mott…Detroit shot 51.4 percent from the floor, compared to 45.3 percent for
the Hornets.

DET NOH