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Pistons hold off Pacers down the stretch

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The NBA's best defensive team can play some
offense, too.

Richard Hamilton had 22 points and five teammates scored in
double figures as the Detroit Pistons pulled away in the second
half and beat Indiana 106-91 Saturday night, snapping the Pacers'
winning streak at nine games.

"The guys did a good job setting screens,'' Hamilton said. "I
just wanted to come out and move around a lot, come off some
screens, set some screens and try not to get into a physical game
with them.''

It was only the second time this season that the Pistons, who
lead the league in scoring defense at 79.6 points a game, topped
100 points. They did it with a scoring flurry that erased a
10-point Indiana lead in the first half, then added another burst
in the closing minutes after the Pacers threatened a big comeback
of their own.

The Pistons shot an even 50 percent from the field, the first
time this season the Pacers have allowed an opponent to make half
its shots.

"That's as good as we've played offensively all year,'' said
Jon Barry, who came off the bench to score a season-high 19 points.
"We took it strong to the basket. And we got to the free throw
line and made our free throws.

"What it comes down to is, we made some stops and got them into
a little bit of a rush,'' he said.

Barry had a basket and two free throws during a 10-0 run that
pushed Detroit's lead to 99-83 with under four minutes to go. The
Pacers never came closer than 13 after that.

Corliss Williamson also had 19 off the bench for the Pistons,
while Chucky Atkins and Zeljko Rebraca added 15 each and Clifford
Robinson 12.

"They got it out in transition so early and so often in the
first quarter, we had to figure out a way to slow them down,''
Pistons coach Rick Carlisle said. "Part of it was to execute a
little better on offense and put the ball in the hole. The other
part was to make sure we had two or three guys sprinting back every
time.''

Brad Miller led Indiana with 24 points, while Ron Artest added
14 points, Jermaine O'Neal had 12 points and 14 rebounds and Jamaal
Tinsley had 12 points and a season-high 14 assists.

"For the most part, we weren't able to shoot the ball well,''
O'Neal said. "They were able to stay home (near the basket). We
didn't make the defense work as hard as we usually do.

"Brad did a great job, but tonight I may have been the missing
link to keeping the defense honest,'' said O'Neal, who shot just
6-of-16.

Miller scored the final seven points of the first quarter, and
baskets by Ron Mercer, Austin Croshere and Jonathan Bender at the
start of the second period completed a 13-0 run for a 29-19 lead --
Indiana's biggest of the game.

Barry led Detroit's comeback in the second quarter, shooting
6-for-7 for 13 points in the period. A fast-break basket by Atkins
gave Detroit a 46-45 lead.

A 10-0 Indiana run in the third quarter put the Pacers up 63-57,
but three straight baskets by Rebraca helped bring Detroit within
two. A basket by Atkins tied the game at 69, then a minute later a
basket by Hamilton put the Pistons in front for good.

"I thought their collective will and toughness was better than
ours,'' Pacers coach Isiah Thomas said.

"It was a nice run,'' he said of Indiana's long streak. "We
played good basketball in that streak, but you just pick up and go
win the next game.

Game notes
Ben Wallace, the league leader in rebounds at 15 a game and
tied for second in blocked shots with 3.15 per game, had 11 boards
and three blocks. ... The Pacers matched their season low with 13
turnovers. ... The Pistons have won five of the past eight games at
Indiana, including both of their visits to Conseco Fieldhouse last
season. ... The Pacers had won 10 straight at home since a loss to
Cleveland last April. ... Detroit's 11-3 start is its best since it
opened the 1996-97 season at 16-3.