7:30 PM ET, March 1, 2008
STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
Tayshaun Prince had 22 points and 10 assists, and the Pistons got 41 points from their reserves to beat the Clippers 103-73 Saturday night for their 11th straight victory against Los Angeles.
"When we have a good player out, especially one of our main guys, I think it's important that we depend on each other," Prince said. "It gives me more of an opportunity to play more a 'point-forward,' especially when Chauncey's out. I just tried to see over the defense and make plays."
Billups was back in Detroit taking care of a personal matter. His absence ended a streak of 276 straight games in which Billups, Rasheed Wallace, Prince and Richard Hamilton had started together. Since the 1991-92 season, only one foursome had started more consecutive games together -- Indiana's Reggie Miller, Mark Jackson, Rik Smits and Dale Davis.
Rookie Rodney Stuckey made his first NBA start in place of Billups. Stuckey, the 15th overall draft pick, had nine points and two assists in 25 minutes as his stepparents joined a sellout crowd of 19,271 that was loaded with Pistons fans.
Newly acquired Juan Dixon played 23 minutes and finished with 14 points, making six of seven shots for Detroit. He had only one practice with his new teammates after being acquired from Toronto on Thursday.
"It was an opportunity for me to play some minutes, so I had to go out there and bring some energy on the defensive end, and that helped me to get it going on the offensive end," said Dixon, who had a chance to get some significant minutes at point guard with the Raptors because of T.J. Ford's back injury.
"The guys made me feel so comfortable and they communicated with me. Tayshaun was really helpful, helping me through the offensive sets so I could get the ball in the right position and getting the guys the ball in the right spots."
Wallace added 17 points, making his first seven shots and helping the Pistons win for the 14th time in 17 games. They shot 54.3 percent and had 28 assists, improving to 16-0 when shooting at least 50 percent from the field and 23-0 when finishing with 25 or more assists.
"Everything we do is based on moving the ball and not turning the ball over. We don't have one-on-one type players, per se," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. "Our guys are set up to help make the other guy better by setting a good screen, getting somebody open and playing off the first option to the second and third. And I thought we did that very well most of the night."
Corey Maggette scored 22 points for the Clippers, who dropped their fifth straight and shot 34.8 percent against a defense that came in allowing a league-low 90.5 points.
Chris Kaman returned to the lineup, scoring 13 points on 5-for-17 shooting and grabbing 14 rebounds in 33 minutes after missing four games because of a sore lower back. The Clippers have lost the last nine games in which the 7-foot center has taken 17 or more shots.
"It's good to see Chris back, but he was rusty," coach Mike Dunleavy said. "He did his job on the boards, but he had a hard time finishing around the basket."
The Pistons, who blew an 18-point lead in a 103-95 loss at Utah on Wednesday night, scored the first seven points of the fourth to open up an 83-63 lead. The Clippers got no closer than 16.
"We know we're missing one key component, so other people have got to step up and fill in. And tonight that happened," Wallace said. "The guys on the bench played good. We left it up to them tonight to win or lose it for us."
The Clippers played their first home game since the departure of G fan favorite Sam Cassell. Saunders, who had him in Minnesota for two seasons, is glad the 38-year-old point guard is getting one last chance to go out on top with Boston -- although the Pistons will be trying to prevent that from happening. "He wants to finish with a ring because he started with a ring [in Houston]. That was always his ambition," Saunders said. ... The Clippers' franchise has had double-digit losing streaks against 17 different teams, and 26 such streaks altogether. The longest drought was against Boston, when the Buffalo Braves dropped their first 22 contests against the Celtics. The team's longest such streak since moving to Los Angeles was 17 games, against Portland.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||44-81 (.543)||24-69 (.348)|
|3PM-3PA||7-14 (.500)||1-6 (.167)|
|FTM-FTA||8-12 (.667)||24-34 (.706)|
|Fast Break Points||13||2|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||24 (1/0)||15 (0/0)|