Detroit gets ahead early and cruises

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Chauncey Billups and Tayshaun Prince
made sure the Detroit Pistons stayed focused long enough to win
their 11th straight home game.

Billups scored 23 points and Prince added 21 Friday night to
lead Detroit past Toronto 103-92.

The Pistons (41-23) were coming off a win over Northwest
Division-leading Seattle on Wednesday. They host Western
Conference-leading San Antonio on Sunday.

"I think we're continuing in the right direction," Prince
said. "San Antonio is going to be a big game, but so is this one
and every other one we play from here until the end of the

Donyell Marshall had 25 points and 12 rebounds for the Raptors
(27-38), who were without center Chris Bosh, bruised his lower back
in Wednesday's one-point loss at Boston.

"We were aggressive," Toronto coach Sam Mitchell said, "but
being short-handed tonight, and playing a good basketball team on
their floor, it's going to be hard to win."

Bosh, the Raptors' leading scorer and rebounder, is day-to-day.

The Pistons used a 14-3 run to push their lead to double digits
late in the first quarter and maintained a 10-point lead until late
in the game.

Detroit made half its field-goal attempts (23-for-46) in the
first three quarters, while Toronto converted just 38 percent of
its attempts in the same stretch. Billups made his first seven
shots, including three 3-pointers, before missing his last three in
the fourth quarter. He made all six of his free-throw attempts in
the final period.

Detroit's defense, which limited the Raptors to only one shot on
most possessions, broke down a bit in the fourth quarter. Toronto
cut its deficit to 92-85 on Rafer Alston's 3-pointer with four
minutes to play, but the Pistons answered with a six-point run to
put the game away.

"The defense wasn't great, but it was there when it had to
be," Prince said. "We made the defensive plays when we had to
make them."

Pistons assistant coach Gar Heard, who coached in place of Larry
Brown for the third consecutive game, said Friday's performance
shouldn't be taken as a harbinger of Sunday's game.

"It's going to be a different type of game. It's going to be a
much slower game against San Antonio," he said. "Tonight, it was
a tough matchup all the way around. (The Spurs) don't have the
3-point shooters that this team had."

San Antonio beat visiting Detroit 80-77 on Dec. 3.

Toronto, which tied an NBA record with 21 3-pointers against
Philadelphia on Monday, was 8-for-21 from behind the arc Friday.
Marshall had five 3s.

Jalen Rose had 24 points for Toronto, which has lost eight of
its last nine games in Auburn Hills. Alston added 16 points and
four assists.

Detroit's Richard Hamilton had 20 points before fouling out in
the final minute, and Rasheed Wallace added 18 points and 13
rebounds. Ben Wallace finished with 15 rebounds.

Game notes
Pistons guard Carlos Delfino played for the first time in
three months Friday. The rookie, who was placed on the injured list
Dec. 11 after surgery on his right knee, scored two points in 16
minutes. ... Pistons forward Darvin Ham did not attend the game
after being injured during an alleged domestic dispute early
Friday. He's on the injured list with tendinitis in his right knee.
... No timetable has been set for Brown's return. He underwent
surgery Monday related to a November hip operation. ... Rose, who
prepped at Detroit Southwestern High School before playing at
Michigan, will give scholarships totaling $50,000 to five Detroit
high school students through his Jalen Rose Foundation.