SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- When the Detroit Pistons were
introduced before Tuesday night's game, the Arco Arena scoreboard
flashed images of abandoned buildings, burned-out cars -- nearly
every outdated, offensive stereotype of their hometown.
Most of the Pistons didn't see the display, but they went out
and wrecked the Sacramento Kings' home opener anyway.
Tayshaun Prince scored 25 points while making 10 straight shots,
and the Pistons emphatically snapped an eight-game losing streak in
Sacramento with a 102-88 victory.
The Kings quickly apologized for the scoreboard montage, and the
Detroit players didn't hear about it until they got dressed in
their locker room after an impressive victory -- their first in
Sacramento since Feb. 26, 1996.
"To do something like that, it's embarrassing," said Detroit
coach Flip Saunders, who saw the video. "It's not called for.
There's no excuse for that. Whoever did that owes us an apology.
... I know the Maloofs pretty well, and they've always been nothing
but classy. I'm sure they didn't have anything to do with that."
John Thomas, the president of Maloof Sports and Entertainment,
claimed he didn't know who was responsible for the video, but
promised immediate discipline.
"It was a terrible mistake," Thomas said. "That's not how we
do things. We apologize to the great Detroit organization and to
the city of Detroit. ... There's no explanation. It was a mistake,
and it won't happen again."
The Pistons played with plenty of motivation even though they
didn't see the show. Chauncey Billups had 16 points and eight
assists, and Richard Hamilton added 21 points and six rebounds as
Detroit (4-0) extended the club's best start since 1996.
"I just heard about it," Billups said. "I wasn't really
paying attention. That's cold. Bet they won't do that again."
"Don't tread on D," forward Rasheed Wallace said with a grin.
In the opener of a three-game road trip, Detroit scored easy
fast-break baskets and hit countless difficult jumpers while taking
a 21-point lead early in the fourth quarter -- and shutting down
Peja Stojakovic and Mike Bibby on the other end.
"I walk away from this game feeling like we let them do what
they wanted to do," said Abdur-Rahim, who had 14 points. "They
made everything easy. Tonight, we got pushed around."
After just four games, the defending Eastern Conference
champions already look comfortable with the marriage of their usual
hard-nosed defense and Saunders' up-tempo offensive mentality.
Prince scored 19 points and hit three 3-pointers in the second
half for the Pistons, who made a 24-4 run spanning the third and
fourth quarters. Detroit scored the first 11 points of the fourth,
sending home much of the sellout crowd.
"In that situation, I'm going to shoot until I miss," Prince
said. "And with this coaching staff, we're going to ride whoever
is hot. It's definitely a big confidence-booster. What's most
important is the coaching staff is behind you."
Wells scored 16 points in the first game at Arco Arena in 21
days for the Kings, who were stuck with the NBA's last home opener
for the second straight season.
After draining exhibition visits to Fresno, Albuquerque and Las
Vegas, the Kings opened the regular season with a three-game road
trip featuring a 26-point loss to the New Orleans Hornets in
"I don't care if we're playing home or not," coach Rick
Adelman said. "We just ran into a better team. Their starting five
has played together for a while. They executed very well, and they
shot it very well. We looked like a team that is inexperienced
Detroit started slowly but soon made a 21-4 run in the first
quarter, killing the Kings with transition baskets and tough
jumpers. The Pistons maintained a steady lead for the rest of the
night, even though Sacramento played mostly good defense and got 28
points from its reserves.
The Pistons were so impressive in the second half, making big
defensive stops and hitting one difficult basket after another,
that Billups and Saunders repeatedly stood and clapped for the
players on the court near the Detroit bench.
The Pistons held Sacramento scoreless over the first 5:08 of the
fourth quarter, scoring 11 straight points.
Maurice Evans, who left the Kings to sign with Detroit in the
offseason, scored 12 points on his 27th birthday.
Sacramento Monarchs stars Yolanda Griffith and Kara Lawson
got a standing ovation in the first quarter. ... Rapper and "Pimp
My Ride" host Xzibit also sat courtside. ... Playing just 31
minutes, Prince fell six points short of his career high.