AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Feb. 1 (Ticker) --
Winning in Detroit always has
been difficult for the New Jersey Nets, and it wasn't any easier
without two of their best players.
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scored 27 points and Richard Hamilton
as the Detroit Pistons bolted to a huge lead and never trailed
en route to a 106-84 victory over the Nets.
For the second straight game All-Star point guard Jason Kidd
out with a strained groin and second-year forward Richard
was bothered by a stomach virus, leaving the Nets
The Pistons took advantage of the Atlantic Division leaders,
seizing control in the first quarter behind 20 points from
Billups and a barrage of 3-pointers. They led 34-25 through one
quarter and opened a 59-41 bulge at intermission.
Detroit improved to 25-3 against the Nets at the Palace of
The Pistons, who are third in the Eastern Conference behind
Indiana and New Jersey, won the season series, which could be
pivotal in deciding homecourt advantage in the playoffs.
Detroit maintained its big lead despite having All-Star forward
leave the game after learning his mother, Sadie, had
died in Alabama.
According to Pistons president Joe Dumars, Wallace found out
about his mother's death in the second quarter. Dumars was in
contact with Wallace's siblings throughout and delivered the
news to his center.
"Good week for the team, but obviously we're very saddened with
the events of the night with Ben's mom," Detroit coach Rick
Carlisle said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Ben and the
"As for the game, we caught a break, obviously, without Kidd and
Jefferson playing. We hung in at halftime. When we learned
the news, guys picked it up and were able to pull together and
get the win. It was not an easy win, despite the final score."
Detroit's lead was not in jeopardy until the final six minutes,
when Kenyon Martin's
dunk sliced New Jersey's deficit to 87-78.
had scored nine straight points for the Nets to
get them within 86-72 at the 7:50 mark.
"We made a game out of it," Martin said. "We fought our way
back in and had a chance, but we just couldn't get over that
hump. Tonight was one of those nights."
After Martin's dunk, Hamilton stole the ball from Kerry Kittles
and dunked to trigger a game-ending 19-6 run.
Martin finished with 29 points and 15 rebounds for the Nets, who
had a four-game winning streak stopped and fell to 11-13 away
"It was a big challenge," Nets coach Byron Scott said. "That's
a very good basketball team, and when you're missing your two
top scorers, it's going to be difficult, and we knew that coming
into the game.
"Our guys played hard tonight. It just didn't happen tonight.
You can make a bunch of excuses, but we suited up 10 guys and
you expect to go out there and play hard, and our guys did that.
We expect to win, but we weren't able to get it done tonight."
Coming off Friday's 52-point rout in Boston, the Pistons took an
early 10-2 lead as Billups scored 10 points. He scored his
final point of the quarter on a highlight-reel reverse layup,
increasing Detroit's lead to 32-15 with 1:55 left.
"I thought if we could win tonight, it would kind of confirm
last night," Carlisle said. "It was a good sign that we were
able to keep our momentum going."
Before hosting the shorthanded Nets, the Pistons visited Boston,
where Celtics star forward Antonie Walker
was rusty coming off
"Those things never guarantee wins," Carlisle said. "We've
still got to play. I thought we played hard and we played
unselfishly and I thought we earned these two wins."
"I wanted to come out both nights and be very aggressive,
whether the shots were going or not," Billups said. "When you're
aggressive, things tend to go your way. I wanted to set the
tone for the whole team and I did a good job with that."
The Nets responded with a 10-2 run to end the quarter but were
outscored 25-16 in the second as Detroit gradually pulled away.
The Pistons did everything right, shooting 50 percent
(38-of-76), including 9-of-20 from beyond the arc. They also
outrebounded the Nets, 46-38, including 37-25 on the defensive
end, despite Wallace's absence in the second half.
Reserve Corliss Williamson
added 17 points and 10 rebounds and
chipped in 12 points for Detroit.
Kidd was replaced by Anthony Johnson
, who efficiently ran the
Nets' offense in the fourth quarter of Wednesday's win over
Washington and Friday's victory over New Orleans. But he picked
up two quick fouls in the first quarter, and the Nets rarely
dictated the tempo, shooting just 35 percent (29-of-82) from the
"We were fighting an uphill battle," Kittles said. "We're on
the road in a tough environment and against a very good
basketball team that executes well. You can't spot them a
20-point lead in the first half and try to come back."
was Jefferson's replacement and finished with
16 points and seven rebounds.