76ers struggle to score without Iverson


AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- As the clock clicked toward zero,
Chauncey Billups slowly walked the ball upcourt, crossed the
halfcourt line and stood with one arm raised high.

The Palace crowd roared in approval as the Detroit Pistons again
made history with their defense.

Detroit held the Philadelphia 76ers scoreless for the final two
minutes of a 85-69 win Sunday, extending the NBA record for holding
opponents under 70 points to five straight games.

Lindsey Hunter's steal on Philadelphia's last possession ensured
the 76ers would not reach 70.

"I felt silly at the end, because I had no idea what was going
on," Pistons coach Larry Brown said. "It was Tayshaun (Prince)
who told me that they were at 69 with two minutes left, and our
guys were trying to stop them. But it is fun. I'm not sure what
clicked, but it is working right now."

The 76ers didn't have Allen Iverson for the fourth straight
game, but it wasn't because of Iverson's knee injury this time.

Iverson decided not to play after coach Chris Ford, concerned
about his conditioning, told him he'd come off the bench.

"I'm a starter. I've been a starter here for eight years. I'm
not a sixth man," Iverson said after the game.

Ford and Iverson have had a rocky relationship since the coach
replaced the fired Randy Ayers on Feb. 9.

"I didn't know he was going to attempt to play until how much
time was left on the (pre-game) clock? Not much," Ford said.
"From my understanding and what I was told yesterday after his
workout, I'm going to look out for A.I. and the team. Somebody's
got to make decisions around here."

Corliss Williamson scored 16 points and Rasheed Wallace added 14
as the Pistons won their fifth straight. Detroit has won nine of 12
since acquiring Wallace from Atlanta on Feb. 19.

Ben Wallace anchored Detroit's defense with eight points, six
rebounds, four blocks and two steals.

The Pistons are the first team since the shot clock was
implemented in 1954-55 to have a streak of more than two games
holding an opponent under 70.

"If it's in the fourth quarter and we're in range of keeping a
team under 70, then we are going shoot for that," said Billups,
who had 13 points and nine assists. "We take a lot of pride in
knowing that (the streak) hasn't been done before."

Reserve guard Willie Green, a rookie from Detroit Mercy, scored
17 points for the Sixers, who had a four-game winning streak

Kenny Thomas scored the first points of the second half on a
reverse layup to bring the 76ers within six, 46-40, but they were
unable to get closer.

Prince's three-point play in the third quarter capped a 14-5 run
that put the Pistons ahead 66-49.

Layups by Richard Hamilton and Williamson gave Detroit a 46-38
halftime lead.

The Pistons never trailed in the first quarter, but the 76ers
went ahead for the first time in the second on Derrick Coleman's
layup that gave them a 24-22 lead.

The Pistons regained the lead shortly thereafter and built it to
40-34 when Ben Wallace swatted away Thomas' shot and Billups hit a

Game notes
The Pistons ended Thomas' streak of 10 straight
double-doubles. He finished with eight points and 10 rebounds. ...
Prince left the game midway through the third quarter after
re-aggravating a shoulder strain that has bothered him recently. He
returned later in the quarter. ... Brown coached the 76ers the past
six seasons. ... The teams split the season series 2-2. ... Coleman
and Marc Jackson both played in their second games since returning
from the injured list. ... The first 10,000 fans at The Palace were
given Mehmet Okur bobbleheads.