Detroit wins series 4-1 (Game 2 of 5)

Detroit wins series 4-1

Game 1: Sunday, April 23rd
Game 2: Wednesday, April 26th
Game 3: Saturday, April 29th
Game 4: Monday, May 1st
Game 5: Wednesday, May 3rd

Bucks 98

(40-42, 15-26 away)

Pistons 109

(64-18, 37-4 home)

Coverage: WDWB

7:30 PM ET, April 26, 2006

The Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit, MI

1 2 3 4 T
MIL 23 25 27 2398
DET 32 29 31 17109

Top Performers

Milwaukee: M. Redd 29 Pts, 4 Reb, 2 Ast

Detroit: T. Prince 22 Pts, 7 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl

Prince, Billups help Pistons coast past Bucks in Game 2

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- The Detroit Pistons have made two major improvements over their recent runs to the NBA Finals: offense, and playing Game 2s.

Tayshaun Prince scored 22 points and Chauncey Billups had 20 to lead Detroit to a 109-98 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night, and a 2-0 lead in their first-round series.

The two-time defending Eastern Conference champion Pistons had lost three straight Game 2s and four of their last five, dating to the 2004 NBA Finals. Before that stretch, Detroit lost to Milwaukee two years ago in the second game of their first-round series en route to the title.

"We knew all about that," Billups said. "The difference with us now is that we're going to stay aggressive throughout each series, and we're not going to get overconfident if we win Game 1s."

Detroit appeared motivated from the start, a bad sign for the Bucks, and a 12-0 run midway through the second quarter gave the Pistons a cushion they maintained for the rest of the night.

"We're not playing Milwaukee -- we're playing ourselves," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. "If guys have that approach, you won't have letdowns."

Bucks star Michael Redd bounced back from an 11-point game with 29.

"We made adjustments to try to get me open in better positions," Redd said.

But Redd didn't get much help in the first half as Milwaukee's other starters each scored six or fewer points before halftime. T.J. Ford was Redd's only teammate to finish with more than 10 points.

Game 3 is Saturday night in Milwaukee.

"We've done nothing," Billups said. "We've held serve with home-court advantage."

Richard Hamilton, who left Game 1 with a sprained left ankle, had 18 points and eight assists in 33 minutes. He had eight points in the first 10 minutes before going to the sideline after aggravating his injury, and in the third quarter, he had the lower part of his left leg wrapped. After the game, Hamilton said the injury was not serious.

Detroit's Rasheed Wallace had 12 points and eight rebounds. Antonio McDyess (13) and Lindsey Hunter (10) added scoring punch off the bench.

"A sign of a good team is good balance," Bucks coach Terry Stotts said. "Any of their guys can make plays to start runs or stop runs."

Milwaukee reserve guard Maurice Williams limped off the court late in the third quarter after turning an ankle, depleting a team already without backup forward Toni Kukoc because of back spasms.

Ford had 17 points, reserve Charlie Bell scored 11 and Andrew Bogut, the first overall pick last year, added eight points and 13 rebounds. Bobby Simmons scored 10.

The Pistons displayed their balance from the start, with each starter scoring to give them a 10-5 lead.

"That's how we beat people," Billups said. "We know there is strength in numbers. We go into games not knowing what matchup we're going to attack, we just go with the flow."

Detroit led 32-23 after the first quarter.

Milwaukee went on a 12-3 run -- led by Bell's eight points -- early in the second quarter to pull within two, only to have its hopes dashed quickly by Detroit's 12 unanswered points, with eight from reserve Maurice Evans, who didn't play in Game 1 until the final two minutes.

"I'm just happy they gave me a chance, and that I made the most of it," Evans said.

With four double-figure scorers, the Pistons led 61-48 at halftime.

Detroit led by as much as 19 points midway through the third quarter before Simmons joined Redd as the only double-figure scorer for the Bucks, helping them pull within 12. The Pistons started the final quarter ahead 92-75.

The Pistons, who ran a slow-pace offense the past four years, scored 28 fast-break points and showed the Bucks they can run to score if needed.

"That's one of the biggest differences with this team," Billups said. "We can get out in transition to hurt you."

Game notes

Kukoc missed his second straight game, but the Bucks are hopeful he'll play Saturday night. ... Game 4 is Monday night in Milwaukee. ... Detroit's five starters are all ranked among the top six in the league in games played, including playoffs, over the last three seasons. Bruce Bowen of San Antonio is fifth, one spot ahead of Rasheed Wallace.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 98 109
FGM-FGA 37-85 (.435) 42-83 (.506)
3PM-3PA 6-12 (.500) 10-25 (.400)
FTM-FTA 18-24 (.750) 15-19 (.789)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 14-42 10-41
Assists 16 30
Turnovers 13 10
Steals 5 6
Blocks 3 6
Fast Break Points 20 28
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (0/0) 20 (0/0)
Largest Lead 1 19

Top Performers

Michael Redd Redd
Points: 29
Reb: 4
Ast: 2
Stl: 0
Blk: 0
Tayshaun Prince Prince
Points: 22
Reb: 7
Ast: 4
Stl: 1
Blk: 0