Balanced offense, stingy defense help Pistons beat Bobcats

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- The Detroit Pistons didn't get much
of a scare from the short-handed Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday

They did, however, get one from Ben Wallace.

Late in the first quarter of a 114-91 victory, Wallace landed
awkwardly while grabbing a rebound and stayed on the floor, holding
his left knee. He eventually limped off under his own power, and to
the relief of his coaches, teammates and the 102nd straight sellout
crowd at the Palace, returned in the second period.

"It just locked up on me -- my leg got too far in front of me,"
Wallace said. "It's a small thing to a giant."

Even while Wallace was down, his teammates weren't overly

"When he doesn't get right up, you know he's hurting, but I
just can't get too worried about that guy," Chauncey Billups said.
"He's just a warrior."

Richard Hamilton led a balanced Pistons attack with 19 points.
Seven Detroit players scored in double figures, and the
often-inconsistent reserves chipped in 44 points.

"Most teams have a go-to guy," Charlotte coach Bernie
Bickerstaff said. "Detroit has a go-to team."

Maurice Evans scored 18 points and Tayshaun Prince and Antonio
McDyess each had 16 in Detroit's first game since an 83-68 win in
San Antonio on Tuesday.

"This was a workmanlike performance coming off a big win,"
Detroit coach Flip Saunders said. "That's what you like to see."

The Bobcats dressed only 10 players, as Sean May (knee) and Jake
Voskuhl (ankle) stayed home with injuries. Charlotte has lost three
straight and seven of eight, while the Pistons (29-5) have won five
of six.

"They aren't the team you want to play short-handed,"
Charlotte's Bernard Robinson said. "You have to play basically a
perfect game against them when you are full strength, so you know
they will take advantage of it when you aren't."

Primoz Brezec led the Bobcats with 18 points, while Gerald
Wallace scored 14 and reserve Jumaine Jones added 12.

"It's not an embarrassment to lose to Detroit that way,"
Bickerstaff said. "They are a very good basketball team. But I
told my guys that I would go in a foxhole with them any day. They
never lay down, and I'm very proud of them."

The Pistons led 30-21 after one quarter, picking up 11 assists
in the period, and expanded the margin to 60-43 at the half.
Billups and Hamilton combined for 24 points and seven assists in
the half, while Gerald Wallace had 11 points and six rebounds for
the Bobcats.

The teams traded baskets for most of the third period, with
Charlotte never able to get the margin back to single digits.

Detroit led 83-70 at quarter's end, and was never threatened in
the fourth.

Game notes
Ben Wallace tried his third 3-pointer of the season in the
last seconds of the third period. He shot from the baseline and hit
the side of the backboard. ... Rasheed Wallace picked up a
fourth-quarter technical for arguing a call. ... After going 2-1
against the Pistons in 2004-05, with the only loss in
double-overtime, Charlotte has lost to Detroit by 25 and 23 points
in two tries this season. ... Detroit had 35 assists, one short of
a season best.