Detroit point guard goes 8-of-14 from field

LOS ANGELES -- There's something about the Los Angeles Lakers that seems to bring out the best in Chauncey Billups.

Detroit's point guard scored 22 points to lead the Pistons to an 87-75 win over the Lakers on Sunday night in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

Billups went 8-of-14 from the field, made all four of his free
throws and had four assists and three steals.

He scored many of his points on pick-and-roll plays as the
Lakers scrambled to defend Detroit's balanced attack. Eight Pistons
scored at least five points, while the Lakers had just three with
five or more.

"When I come off the pick and nobody's there, I look to shoot
and more times than not, I'm going to make that shot," Billups

Billups said if teams choose to trap him, he simply looks to

"It's pick your poison," he said.

The Pistons are in the finals for the first time since 1990,
when they won their second straight title, and Pistons coach Larry
Brown credited Billups with getting them there.

"We would not be here if it wasn't for him," Brown said.

Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is Tuesday night in Los

In two regular-season meetings this season, Billups scored a
combined 53 points -- 33 more than any of his teammates -- on 53.1
percent shooting.

"I don't know what it is about Chauncey and the Lakers, but
whatever it is, I hope he can continue it," teammate Corliss
Williamson said.

It was clear from the start he was going to have another strong
game against Los Angles, which is going for its fourth title in
five years.

In the first quarter, Billups didn't miss a shot or a free
throw, and his eight points helped Detroit take a 22-19 lead.

"Chauncey came out aggressive for us, and really shouldered the
load early in the game when I think everybody was a little bit
nervous," Detroit's Ben Wallace said. "Chauncey took it upon
himself to go out and make things happen."

He did it again when the Pistons took control of the game with a
24-point third, scoring nine points in the quarter.

After the Lakers pulled within seven with just under three
minutes left in the game, Billups quieted the crowd with a jumper.

"He seemed to handle the pressure well," Lakers coach Phil

Gary Payton had trouble staying with Billups, just as he did in
the regular season.

Payton was called for a fifth foul in the third quarter, and
finished with just three points. His backup, Derek Fisher, didn't
fare much better against Billups on defense, or offense, with just
two points.

The Pistons were the first team to beat the Lakers on their home
court during the playoffs, and prevented them from tying an NBA
playoff record with 10 straight wins at home in one postseason.

Since 1984, the winner of Game 1 in the NBA Finals has ended up
losing the series just six times. The Lakers were one of the teams
to overcome a series-opening setback in 2001, when they beat the
Brown-led Philadelphia 76ers.