AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Chauncey Billups is playing so well
this season that even his great games are starting to get
Billups had 10 points in a 97-second span late in the fourth
quarter and the Pistons beat the Memphis Grizzlies 95-89 on Friday
night for their 10th straight win.
The scoring burst came two days after Billups scored 11 points
in overtime to help Detroit beat Milwaukee.
"It doesn't amaze me," Detroit's Tayshaun Prince said. "It
doesn't amaze anybody on our team, because we know what he's
capable of doing. Sometimes, we ask 'Why'd he shoot that?', because
a lot of them are bad shots, but trust me, the way he's playing, we
can live and die with Chauncey's decisions."
With Detroit down 81-78, Billups hit four straight free throws
to put the Pistons ahead with 2:27 to go.
After Ben Wallace blocked a Mike Miller shot, Billups hit a
fast-break 3-pointer, then hit another after a Pau Gasol turnover.
He then missed a free throw that could have made it a four-point
play with 1:28 left.
"It was just one of those nights," Billups said. "Sometimes
the game is going a certain way, and I feel like I've got to try to
step up and be aggressive shooting the ball. These have definitely
been two tough games."
At 36-5, Detroit has the fourth-best 41-game record in NBA
history, trailing only the 38-3 starts by the 1995-96 Bulls and
1971-72 Lakers, and the 37-4 record of the 1966-67 76ers.
"When you play 82 games, its tough to play at an unbelievably
high level for all 82," Saunders said. "Right now, we're playing
at a high level -- our level right now is where other people's
mountains are at."
Billups finished with a game-high 34 points, Richard Hamilton
added 19 and Prince scored 16 for the Pistons.
Gasol led the Grizzlies with 31 points and Miller had 20.
"I'm proud of our effort -- we played well and we gave ourselves
a chance to win," Memphis coach Mike Fratello said. "But that's
an outstanding team. That's why they are 36-5."
Detroit allowed the Grizzlies to shoot 50 percent from the floor
in the first half, but stayed in the game by outrebounding Memphis
21-12. Gasol scored 18 points to help the Grizzlies grab a 46-44
lead at the break.
The Pistons led for much of the third quarter, but the Grizzlies
rallied and Gasol hit a long 3-pointer at the buzzer to give
Memphis a 68-64 advantage.
The Grizzlies led 77-75 late in the fourth and Gasol appeared to
move the margin to four points with a layup, but he was called for
"One call never makes the difference in a game, but I didn't
think Pau's layup was a travel," Fratello said. "That was a big
"Obviously, I didn't think I traveled," he said. "I watched
the play again in here, and I only took two steps, but those things
Detroit was within 79-78 when Saunders was called for a
technical foul with 3:22 to go, and the Pistons picked up another
technical for a second delay-of-game warning 17 seconds later.
Miller made both shots, but Billups scored the next 10 points.
Memphis rookie Anthony Roberson, who grew up about an hour
north of the Palace, was inactive. ... Detroit needed double
overtime to win 106-104 in Memphis on Dec. 19. ... The Pistons are
only the third team in 20 years to start the same five players in
their first 41 games, joining the 1999-2000 Indiana Pacers and
2002-03 Golden State Warriors. ... The Pistons need to go 28-13 in
the second half of the season to break the franchise record of 63
wins in a season. ... The 1991-92 and 1996-97 Bulls also started