"We're not quite there yet," Dunleavy said. "We're definitely
a playoff team, but we're not with the elite teams of the league."
Brand averaged 30.1 points on the five-game road trip.
"Elton has drastically improved his perimeter shooting,"
Saunders said. "He was quick-shooting us tonight -- getting rid of
the ball before we could get to him."
Los Angeles scored the first four points of the fourth to pull
within one, but Prince scored the next eight points, including a
3-pointer and a three-point play, to make it 79-70 with 7:28 left.
After two free throws by Mobley, Prince made his second
three-point play in 26 seconds, giving Detroit a 10-point lead.
The Clippers tried to get back into the game by intentionally
fouling Ben Wallace, and he missed four of six free throws,
including an airball.
That let Los Angeles pull within 87-81 with 2:50 to go, and
Wallace took himself out of the game at the next timeout.
"That was Ben's call," Saunders said.
Rasheed Wallace hit a 3-pointer on the next possession and the
Clippers never threatened again, but at least one Piston was
disappointed at the way it happened.
"I told Ben that I wished he had stayed in there," Billups
said. "He's going to try to make those shots. We've got his back
Brand's 17 first-quarter points gave the Clippers a 25-18 after
one period, but Antonio McDyess had nine points in the second to
help the Pistons to a 48-40 halftime lead.
Detroit led by as many as 11 early in the third, but the
Clippers used a 12-0 run to take a one-point lead midway through
the period. Mobley had six points in the surge.
Billups, though, scored seven straight points late in the
period, helping Detroit build a 71-66 advantage heading into the
final 12 minutes.
Lindsey Hunter, who made his season debut on Tuesday after
missing 46 games with an ankle injury, did not play on Wednesday.
... Brand has scored 17 points in a quarter against the Pistons
twice this season, also doing it in the third quarter on Dec. 11.
The only player to have a higher-scoring quarter against Detroit is
Ricky Davis, who had 18 in the second for Boston on Nov. 15.