On Saturday, he took advantage of an opportunity to take center
Prince made all eight of his shots in the first half, including
a pair of 3-pointers, and his 20 points helped the Pistons to an
easy 100-85 victory over the short-handed New York Knicks.
"I got a lot of easy buckets out there -- some wide-open jumpers
and a couple of dunks after I ran the floor on a break," he said.
"This is an unselfish team, and we are always going to look for
the guy with the hot hand. Tonight, that was me."
"We've got guys out there playing more minutes than they
normally play, and who aren't used to playing together," Knicks
coach Lenny Wilkens said. "That's asking a lot, but I want them to
learn from it."
"I'm looking to do a better job of getting my teammates
involved," said Billups, who is averaging 8.1 assists in Detroit's
last 10 games. "I think that I can do that and still find ways to
score. This was a good win for us -- we knew they were banged-up,
and we took advantage of that."
DerMarr Johnson led the Knicks with 17, and Vin Baker added 16,
his highest point total since joining New York.
"Every game is like a playoff game right now, because this is
coming down to the wire in the last few games," Baker said. "We
just have to get ready to play and really push it and get the
seventh or eighth spot in the East."
Detroit jumped out to a quick 16-3 lead and never looked back.
They scored 32 points in the first quarter and 35 more in the
second, giving them their highest-scoring half of the season.
The Pistons led by 19 at the half, shooting 61.9 percent from
the floor in the first two periods.
Detroit played a little more defense in the third, outscoring
New York 23-18 to increase their lead to 90-67. They led by as many
as 27 in the fourth.
The fans began chanting for Darko Milicic with nine minutes to
play, and he almost immediately entered the game. The No. 2 pick in
last summer's draft finished the game, but did not score and was
called for a defensive three-second technical foul.
"That kid just does some crazy things," Pistons coach Larry
Brown said. "He needs to be out there, but he has to trying so
hard to please the fans."
The game was played on the same day as the Michigan high
school finals, which have produced NBA stars like Magic Johnson,
Chris Webber and Jalen Rose. Johnson's alma mater, Lansing Everett,
won the Class A title Saturday afternoon. ... Hamilton, who had
been playing with a facemask to protect his broken nose, started
the second half without it, but put it back on at the first
timeout. ... Rasheed Wallace was in uniform, but spent the entire
game on the bench with an electrical-stimulation machine hooked to
his back. ... DerMarr Johnson started for the first time since the
2001-02 season, when he played for Atlanta.