Friday , May , 11 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Choke hold: Pistons rally to top Bulls

Chicago, IL (Sports Network) – Tayshaun Prince and Chauncey Billups combined
for 36 points in the second half, as Detroit rallied from a 19-point deficit
in the third quarter to beat Chicago, 81-74, sending the Bulls to the brink of
elimination from their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Prince finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds, while Billups had 21 points
and seven assists for the Pistons, who remained perfect in the playoffs and
are one win away from reaching the conference finals for a fifth straight
year.

Detroit outscored Chicago, 53-30 in the second half, and the Bulls shot
4-of-25 from the field in the fourth quarter.

Rasheed Wallace had 16 points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots for the
Pistons, who had one turnover in the second half to 10 for the Bulls.
Richard Hamilton also scored 16 for the Pistons, who won their ninth straight
game, going back to the regular season. That includes a first-round sweep
of Orlando.

Luol Deng totaled 21 points and 14 rebounds for Chicago, which lost the first
two games of the series by a combined 47 points, but seemed to be cruising to
victory in Game 3. That was until the Bulls fell apart with the turnovers and
missed shots in the fourth quarter.

Ben Gordon had 16 points for the Bulls, who will try to avoid the sweep in
Game 4 Sunday afternoon, also at the United Center. Kirk Hinrich had 13
points, 11 rebounds and seven assists for Chicago, which was also hurt by
going 4-of-11 at the foul line in the final quarter.

No team has come back from an 0-3 deficit to win a best-of-seven series in NBA
playoff history.

The Bulls attained their largest lead at 49-30 on a pair of free throws from
Gordon with 10 1/2 minutes left in the third, but miscues started to plague
the home team. Chicago, which had six turnovers in the third, let the Pistons
back into the game.

Prince and Billups combined for 23 of Detroit’s 32 points in the third
quarter. Billups nailed a three to start a 15-2 run, bringing Detroit within
55-50. The flurry ended when Billups delivered a no-look pass to Prince for a
jam with 2:41 left.

Billups and Wallace dropped in three-pointers in the final minute. Wallace’s
came at the quarter buzzer, after a 24-second violation from the Bulls,
getting the Pistons within 61-60.

Wallace’s jumper from the left baseline gave the Pistons a 62-61 edge and
their first lead since early in the opening quarter.

Chicago went back in front, 65-64, on a jumper from Hinrich, but Jason Maxiell
threw down a two-handed jam off a pass from Billups. Deng made 1-of-2 at the
foul line to tie the game at 66 with 7:24 left and the Bulls held a chance to
go ahead, but Hinrich missed a layup and Ben Wallace was called for a loose-
ball foul.

Billups then hit the go-ahead three with under seven minutes left. Another
three from Rasheed Wallace, after one P.J. Brown free throw, moved the lead to
72-67.

Billups came up with a steal and drained a jumper for a 74-67 margin inside of
5 1/2 minutes left.

Hinrich came back with a three, but Chicago didn’t get closer than four the
rest of the way. The last time was 75-71 on a foul shot from Brown with 3:17
to go, but Billups nailed a free throw.

Gordon, Hinrich and Andres Nocioni all missed shots over the next two-plus
minutes, and Nocioni was also off the mark on a pair of free throws in that
span.

Prince’s two foul shots with 52.4 seconds left made it 78-71, sealing the win
and giving the Pistons a choke hold in the series.

Rasheed Wallace’s jumper gave the Pistons a 6-4 edge with under eight minuets
left in the opening quarter. It would be Detroit’s last lead until early in
the fourth.

The Bulls led 20-18 after one quarter and expanded the margin in the second,
taking advantage of horrendous shooting from the Pistons. Detroit was 4-for-21
in the quarter, and Chicago raced to a 44-28 lead at the half.

Chicago used a 17-2 run in the second, moving its lead to 43-26. Deng capped
the burst with a layup.

Game Notes

Brown had 10 points and 10 rebounds, while Ben Wallace had 12 boards…The
Bulls held a 60-43 advantage on the glass, but ended at 33.7 percent from the
field and 16-of-26 at the foul line…Detroit made 39.5 percent of its shots.

CHI DET