PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The All-Star break is arriving at a bad time
for the Detroit Pistons. They would much rather keep playing.
"We're playing some of our best basketball of the season,"
said Chauncey Billups, who scored 20 points along with Richard
Hamilton, leading the Pistons past the Philadelphia 76ers 93-75 on
Wednesday night. The Pistons won their fourth straight game.
"We're playing for each other, like we did last season when we won
Billups was 7-of-8 from the field, including 5-of-6 from 3-point
range. Hamilton was 8-for-16 from the field, and the Pistons made
half of their shots, also going 9-of-17 from the 3-point line. The
Pistons also outrebounded the Sixers 49-42.
"We moved the ball well tonight and got guys open looks,"
Hamilton said. "We were more crisp on offense than we have been in
a while. It kind of reminds me a little of how we were when we
played like this last season."
Meanwhile, Detroit held the league's leading scorer, Allen
Iverson, to 23 points. Iverson, who scored a career-high 60 points,
most in the NBA this season, on Saturday and then had 38 in his
next game, was just 8-of-21 against Detroit's tight defense.
Iverson also committed six turnovers.
"You can learn a lot playing against them," Iverson said.
"They won a championship. They play team basketball."
The Pistons jumped to a 25-8 lead in the first quarter and led
48-35 at halftime. The Sixers cut it to 63-56 with 2:47 remaining
in the third quarter on a jump shot by Corliss Williamson. But the
Pistons pulled away thanks to some clutch shooting.
"We're getting better," Detroit coach Larry Brown said. "All
the players are getting better, and that's been the key."
Williamson had 14 points, Andre Iguodala had 11 points and eight
rebounds and Kenny Thomas contributed 10 points and 11 rebounds for
Philadelphia. The 76ers, who shot just 39 percent from the field,
had their three-game winning streak snapped.
"We played a poor basketball game against a very good
basketball team, and that's a bad combination," Sixers coach Jim
O'Brien said. "We never made a run."
^Notes: The Sixers fell to 26-27 and failed to move above .500
for the first time since Nov. 24, when they were 4-3. ... Hamilton
has hit 30 of 31 free throws in his last eight games. ... Pistons
coach Larry Brown said he was saddened to hear the NHL season had
been canceled. "I feel terrible coming in on a night like this
with hockey canceled," Brown said. ... The Sixers are off until
Feb. 24 at New York. However, several 76ers will be in Denver, the
site of NBA All-Star weekend. Iverson is starting for the East team
in Sunday's All-Star game. "Everybody's happy about the break,"
Sixers coach Jim O'Brien said.