8:30 PM ET, November 10, 2005
US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ
Richard Hamilton scored 11 points in the final 7½ minutes and Chauncey Billups sank a game-clinching 3-pointer with 16 seconds to go to keep the Pistons unbeaten with a 111-104 victory over the Suns on Thursday night.
Billups had 27 points and 11 assists for the Pistons, the league's lone team without a loss. At 5-0, they are off to their best start since they won their first eight en route to the NBA title in 1988-89.
"We just want to keep it going," Hamilton said. "Guys here are very energetic. Everybody's pulling for each other. We want to win as many games as possible, and we did a great job tonight."
In an intense game throughout, the Suns -- 0-3 at home -- led by 11 with 2:38 to go in the third quarter and eight to start the fourth, blowing a late lead at home for the second time this season. They were up by 17 in the fourth quarter of their home opener against Dallas but lost in double overtime.
Their other home loss was a one-pointer to Sacramento.
"It seems like we need about a nickel more to make a dollar," coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We're almost there and we can't quite finish it up."
Leandro Barbosa scored 21 to lead seven Suns in double figures but didn't play the final 6:05. Steve Nash scored 18 with eight assists and six turnovers. Shawn Marion had 12 points and 10 rebounds. Raja Bell scored 14.
Nash, uncharacteristically, refused to talk to reporters afterward.
"It hurts, man, because when you're working as hard as we were working out there tonight, especially to shut them down," Marion said, "then players get in a rhythm."
Detroit outscored the Suns 12-2 over the final four minutes. Phoenix turned it over on its final two possessions on attempts by Nash to pass the ball inside, first to Brian Grant and then to Kurt Thomas.
The Pistons tied it at 102 on Rasheed Wallace's second 3-pointer of the fourth quarter with 3:14 to play.
Nash followed with a 16-footer to put Phoenix back on top, 104-102 with 2:55 to go. The Suns never scored again.
Hamilton sank consecutive long jumpers, the second one giving Detroit the lead for good at 106-104 with 59 seconds remaining. After a turnover, the Pistons moved the ball around the perimeter to Billups, who sank the 3-pointer from the right of the key to give the defending Eastern Conference champions a 109-104 lead. Ben Wallace's breakaway stuff after another turnover provided the final margin.
"The defense turned it up, no question," Detroit coach Flip Saunders said. "Offensively, we turned things up. ... It was at both ends. That's why this has been a championship team. It was a fun game to watch. I'm sure the people at TNT got their money's worth."
After a 52-all tie at halftime, the Suns opened the second half with a 14-4 run. Raja Bell scored five in the run, and capped it with a 16-footer that put Phoenix up 66-56 with 8:26 to play in the third quarter. Nash had a three-point play in the surge on a left-handed drive after he was fouled by Billups.
Barbosa scored the Suns' final six points of the quarter and Phoenix led 82-74 entering the fourth.
Neither team led by more than seven points in the first half.
Rasheed Wallace was booed loudly, but the effect was the opposite of what the Suns' fans desired when he came into the game for the final time, hit two big shots and played strong defense.
"I love it," Wallace said. "I love going into the opposing team's house and getting that crowd riled up and going in there and getting that `W.' That's something I've always liked doing ever since I was in high school. You know, ain't nothing changed about me but the weather."
Suns center Pat Burke saw his first action of the season, going 0-for-2 in three minutes of the first quarter. ... Phoenix used 10 players in the first quarter, but Jim Jackson never got off the bench all night. ... Boris Diaw got his first start for the Suns and finished with 10 points and six assists. ... The Suns' bench outscored the Pistons' 40-17.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||43-80 (.538)||42-88 (.477)|
|3PM-3PA||7-12 (.583)||6-16 (.375)|
|FTM-FTA||18-25 (.720)||14-16 (.875)|
|Fast Break Points||12||10|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||18 (2/0)||20 (3/0)|