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Detroit had lost four of five

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- The Detroit Pistons didn't have
either of their top two point guards for the second half. The
Sacramento Kings couldn't take advantage.

With Chauncey Billups ejected late in the second quarter and
backup Carlos Arroyo (flu) watching from home, Tayshaun Prince and
Lindsey Hunter split the playmaking duties Wednesday night as
Detroit pulled away to a 99-82 victory.

"We were a little down at halftime," Prince said. "But we
knew we had to respond."

Detroit, which had lost four of its previous five games, was
coached by assistant Gar Heard for the 10th straight game as Larry
Brown recovers from urinary-tract surgery. Brown is expected back
for Friday's game against the Clippers.

"When Lindsey was out there, we were able to be more aggressive
on defense, but we knew he couldn't play all 24 minutes," Heard
said. "So we put Tay on the ball and had Rip (Richard Hamilton)
guard their point. It worked pretty well."

Even with the victory, Heard was ready to hand the job back to
Brown.

"I can fly the plane," he said. "But I don't think I can land
it."

Hamilton led the Pistons with 24 points while Ben Wallace had 19
points and 14 rebounds. The much-maligned Pistons bench, which was
outscored 26-2 in Monday's loss to Dallas, outscored the Kings'
reserves 29-16.

"We have a fairly young starting five, and those guys don't get
tired," Darvin Ham said. "When we are able to relieve them and
play some consistent minutes, everything will work out."

Mike Bibby led the Kings with 26 points and Peja Stojakovic
added 15. Sacramento, which was 10-1 against Detroit since the
1999-2000 season, never led.

"They just kept coming at us," Stojakovic said. "They are a
championship team, and they know their advantages and how to use
them."

Detroit led by as many as 17 in the first half, but a late Kings
rally pulled them within 46-42 at the half. The last two points
came on technical foul free throws when Billups was tossed for
arguing a non-call with 2.8 seconds left.

The Pistons got off to another quick start in the third quarter
and led 66-50 midway through the period. Hamilton had seven points
in six minutes and Ben Wallace added five.

"Our captain got us going," Prince said. "Ben got us off to a
great start in the first half and he did it again in the second
half."

Detroit led 75-60 at the end of the third, outscoring the Kings
29-18 in the period. Sacramento never got closer than eight in the
fourth.

"We did not attack enough tonight against a great defensive
team," Kings coach Rick Adelman said. "The third quarter was the
key. They got their lead up to 10 or 15 points and that was just
too much for us to overcome."<
^Notes: The Kings scored a season-low 11 points in the first
quarter. ... As part of a series of Throwback Nights, the Pistons
wore their lightning-bolt jerseys from the late 1970s, while the
Kings wore powder-blue uniforms from the 1980s. ... The Pistons are
now 9-8 with Heard coaching, including a stint early in the season
after Brown had hip surgery. ... Rasheed Wallace, who attended
North Carolina, loudly predicted the Tar Heels would beat local
favorites Michigan State in Saturday's national semifinal. "It's
going to be Carolina and Illinois in the final, and that will be
Illinois' second loss."