<
>

Hamilton rips Wiz for 27 as Pistons end two-game skid

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Chauncey Billups can get some rest
again.

Billups and his Detroit Pistons ended a two-game losing streak
with a 100-91 victory over Washington on Friday night, but Billups
said the skid seemed a lot longer.

"Obviously, this won't be the last time we lose two in a row,
but it seemed more like five or six because we weren't playing the
way we are supposed to play," Billups said. "I couldn't even
sleep, because I was so mad about the way we were playing."

Last year, with Ben Wallace, the Pistons started 35-5 and went
to the Eastern Conference finals for the fourth year in a row. This
season, with Wallace in Chicago, they lost five of their first
eight games.

The Wizards became the latest team to go small against the
Pistons, but Detroit was able to counter it with the length of
Rasheed Wallace and Tayshaun Prince. They combined for 40 points,
17 rebounds and six assists.

"It's like I'm coaching in the CBA again, where no one has a
guy over 6-8," Detroit coach Flip Saunders said. "To counter
teams going small against us, we have to be able to counter it by
pounding it inside. Tonight, Sheed made some shots, and so did
Tayshaun, and when Washington dropped down on them, they found the
guys they needed to find."

Wizards star Gilbert Arenas knew that Wallace would be a problem
when his team went with a small lineup.

"Coach said we weren't rebounding, so we might as well go
small, but when you do that, Rasheed's the tallest guy on the
court," he said. "It got us back in the game, and we hung in
there for a minute, but they just hit shots and blew the game
open."

Arenas only scored 20 points after early foul trouble. He has
been held under 30 points in each of the Wizards' last four games,
one more than his longest streak of last season.

"It is frustrating that every time you bump somebody, it's an
offensive foul," he said. "I know I'm not that strong. When did
flopping become part of basketball? I'm getting called for
everything."

Caron Butler led Washington with 24 points, but couldn't prevent
the Wizards' third straight loss.

"They know how to win -- they've won championships and they've
got a lot of veteran leadership, so they weren't going to keep
digging themselves a hole," he said. "We've got veteran
leadership, too, and we've got to do the same thing."

Washington led 46-43 at the half, holding Detroit to 37.5
percent shooting, but the Pistons came to life in the third.

The Pistons started the period with a 13-2 run, including eight
points from Hamilton, to take a 56-48 edge. They continued to pull
away throughout the quarter, helped by Prince's 3-pointer and eight
Wizards turnovers.

They led 74-61 at the start of the fourth, but the Wizards
rallied behind eight points from Arenas to pull within 81-79 with
6:38 to play.

Lindsey Hunter and Wallace answered with jumpers and the Pistons
pulled away down the stretch.

"Lindsey was the player of the game for sure," Prince said.
"We had energy tonight, and he gave us a lot of it on both ends of
the floor. He was huge."

Game notes
The Pistons held a moment of silence before the game in
honor of former University of Michigan football coach Bo
Schembechler, who died earlier Friday. They also played the
Michigan fight song during the first half in advance of Saturday's
Michigan-Ohio State game. ... The Wizards were the only team to
beat the Pistons three times in the 2005-06 regular season, and the
only franchise with two wins at the Palace. ... Lions QB Jon Kitna
was in the crowd. ... The Wizards are now 0-4 on the road.