"I know before I get the ball if the shot is going in or not,"
Hamilton said. "It's all a rhythm shot. The follow through and the
shot are the easy part. It's just getting there and stopping on a
dime, and being in the right place at the right time, and getting
the shot off."
Quiet for the first three quarters, Hamilton scored 10 of his 20
points in the fourth quarter. The Pistons avoided losing
consecutive games for just the second time this season after losing
to Denver on Wednesday night.
The Pistons improved to 22-8 on the road and close out a
four-game road trip Saturday night against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Rasheed Wallace scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and
Billups also scored 21 with 11 assists.
"That is huge, for me and every one on this team to know that
when it comes down to these situations, it doesn't have to be me
every time," Billups said.
But the victory didn't come without a significant challenge from
Leading 89-87, Rasheed Wallace grabbed Billups' missed shot and
dunked in front of Chris Wilcox for a 91-87 lead with less than 2
Seattle didn't go away. Allen scored on a dunk, then after a
miss by Tayshaun Prince, Allen collected his own rebound and scored
on a 10-footer to pull the Sonics even at 91-91 with 1:04 left.
After a timeout, the Pistons ran their set perfectly, with
Hamilton knocking down a 20-foot baseline jumper. Luke Ridnour
answered for Seattle with a 3-pointer, but Hamilton made a
3-pointer of his own for a 96-94 lead with 28.2 seconds left.
Ridnour was then fouled by Rasheed Wallace coming off a screen
and made both free throws to tie the score at 96. On their final
possession, Billups ran down the clock near midcourt, came off a
screen from Rasheed Wallace and found Hamilton open.
"He was so wide open," Billups said. "I'll take that shot
every day of the week."
Added Allen, "We just got caught sleeping. We got out to
contest the shot but it was too late."
Allen led the Sonics with 31 points, but Seattle -- third in the
league in 3-pointers made -- was just 4-for-15 from beyond the arc.
Detroit made 11-of-29 3-pointers, even though the Sonics held a
team under 100 points for the first time since Feb. 10 against
"Defensively, I thought it was one of the most complete game
plans that we worked," Allen said. Seattle outrebounded Detroit
48-33, including nine by Allen. "We made them score where we
wanted them to score, but they made shots."
Rashard Lewis added 20 points and Ridnour 16 for Seattle, which
was trying to win consecutive games for the first time since Jan.
22 and 25.
Much like their loss to Denver on Wednesday, the Pistons
struggled shooting for much of the first half. Until Billups took
The Pistons closed the half on a 17-4 run, making their final
six shots of the half, capped by Rasheed Wallace's 3-pointer with
less than a second left for a 50-47 lead. Billups scored 10 of the
17 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, as Detroit erased a
10-point deficit in less than three minutes.
"We were able to put ourselves back in the game in the first
half," Detroit coach Flip Saunders said. "We just could not shake
them. ... You knew it was going to be a game that went down to the
Tony Delk made his first appearance with Detroit late in
the first quarter. He played 12 minutes after signing with the
Pistons on Wednesday. ... Saunders believes Billups is a perfect
choice for the U.S. team that will compete at the 2008 Beijing
Olympics. "I think he's a perfect international guy for what he
can do," Saunders said. ... Warren Moon, newly elected to the Pro
Football Hall of Fame, and former NBA player and coach John Lucas