NEW YORK (AP) -- Instinct took over when Chauncey Billups grabbed
a long rebound with 4.9 seconds left.
Normally, he'd call a timeout and let coach Larry Brown design
the final play. This time, however, Billups lowered his head and
decided to wing it.
Billups drove downcourt and was fouled with 2.6 seconds left,
then made both free throws to give Detroit its first lead since the
first quarter. And when Stephon Marbury missed a last-second shot,
Detroit walked off with a 94-93 victory over the New York Knicks on
"It was just instinct, and you can't control instinct. He
(Brown) told me I made a great play, a smart play," Billups said.
"If I didn't catch it on the run, I probably would have called a
timeout. But I caught it with so much momentum, I just wanted to
Bouncing back from a pair of poor offensive performances in
losses to the Grizzlies and Hawks, Detroit got 29 points from
Richard Hamilton, 18 from Rasheed Wallace, 15 from Billups and 14
from Tayshaun Prince to improve to 3-0 in games decided by one
Jamal Crawford led New York with 25 points, but his off-balance
jumper with six seconds left bounced long and hard off the rim,
enabling Billups to take off.
"We didn't call a timeout, so we didn't have a set play," said
Crawford, who dribbled the first 20 seconds off the shot clock
before pulling up from 19 feet away.
The ball caromed out to the foul line, where Billups took it and
ran. Marbury fouled him, and the 91 percent foul shooter calmly
sank both shots.
In similar circumstances, Billups was asked, how many times out
of 10 would Brown prefer to call a timeout.
"Ten," he replied with a laugh.
The Knicks inbounded to Marbury for a last shot, but he lost
control of the ball near the 3-point arc and could only manage to
squeeze off a running, underhanded 18-footer that missed as the
final buzzer sounded.
"I think it may be tough for all of us to sleep tonight,"
Crawford said. "It's a tough one to give up."
Marbury scored 18 points and Allan Houston came off the bench to
add a season-high 17 for the Knicks, who went with a three-guard
alignment of Marbury, Crawford and Houston for much of the fourth
quarter while starting small forward Tim Thomas sat on the bench.
Thomas scored all 12 of his points in the first half.
The Pistons won on the road for just the fifth time all season
and the first in five tries against Eastern Conference opponents.
Crawford hit his first four shots, all 3-pointers, and finished
the first half with a buzzer-beating 3 to give New York a 56-40
Detroit opened the second half with an 11-0 run, and Hamilton's
jumper to open the fourth quarter evened the score at 73 -- the
first tie since the opening quarter.
No more than six points separated the teams the rest of the
Antonio McDyess, traded to Phoenix last January in the deal
that brought Marbury to New York, was booed by the sellout crowd of
19,763. ... Asked if Tim Thomas might be in danger of losing his
starting job, coach Lenny Wilkens replied: "If he were starting to
hurt us, I'd consider it more."