Sunday , Apr , 08 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Pistons take big step toward home court advantage

Auburn Hills, MI (Sports Network) – Chauncey Billups scored six of his 14
points in the final three minutes as Detroit held off Cleveland, 87-82, at The
Palace of Auburn Hills.

Billups also dished out 12 assists for the Pistons, who remain comfortably
atop both the Central Division and the Eastern Conference. Richard Hamilton
added 21 points, while Antonio McDyess chipped in with 18 points and a season-
high 13 rebounds for Detroit.

“I could just see us kind of bogging down a little bit and I just wanted to
try to be aggressive and make plays,” Billups said. “Whether it was shooting
or getting in there and opening something up for somebody else.”

LeBron James finished with 20 points after going scoreless in the first
quarter for the Cavaliers, who fell four games behind Detroit in the Central.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas tallied 15 points and Aleksandar Pavlovic chipped in with
14 points.

“At times, we did a great job of reacting to the double team, and at times we
didn’t,” James said. “That’s a great team, and you can’t have any lapses on
defense or on offense. There are times that you won’t shoot well, but
you can control the defensive end. We can’t have breakdowns on that end, and
tonight, we had a big one.”

Detroit entered the final frame up by six points but the Cavs slowly chipped
away and finally deadlocked things at 78 when Larry Hughes buried a jumper
with 3:47 left.

Seconds later, Ilgauskas dropped in another jumper and Cleveland was in front,

But, Billups had the answer and stuck two consecutive shots for the Pistons,
who were back on top 82-80 with a little over two minutes remaining.

After the teams exchanged free throws, Billups found a diving McDyess for a
thunderous slam with 45.9 ticks left that ignited the crowd and sealed things
for Detroit.

The Pistons used their customary staunch defense to jump out to a 29-17 lead
after the opening 12 minutes but Cleveland rebounded with a solid second
quarter and trailed by just four, 44-40, at intermission.

Detroit continued to play frontrunner through three quarters, 64-58.

Game Notes

The Pistons are 24-14 as the host this season…Cleveland is 19-21 as the
visitor this season…The Pistons are 32-5 when they hold their opponent under
90 points.