AUBURN HILLS, Michigan, March 4 (Ticker) --
With their toughest road
stretch of the season behind them, the Detroit Pistons have
plenty of time to get comfortable on their home floor.
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scored 26 points and Chauncey Billups
as the Pistons snapped their longest losing streak of the season
with a 96-83 victory over the struggling Houston Rockets.
Detroit returned home from a winless five-game road trip and had
lost seven in a row, including six games on the road. But the
Pistons play 14 of their last 21 games at the Palace of Auburn
Hills, where they are 21-6, the third-best home record in the
Detroit avoided its first home losing streak of the season and
moved within one game of division rival Indiana for the best
record in the East.
"This was a badly needed win and I'm glad we went out there and
took care of business," Pistons guard Jon Barry
said. "We have a
favorable schedule with the home games and we are still only
one game out of first place in our division."
The Pistons held a 16-12 edge with one minute remaining in the
first quarter before carrying a 24-9 run into the second period.
Barry scored 11 of his 13 points during the stretch and rookie
added seven, capping it with a 3-pointer for a 40-21
The Rockets trailed by double digits until pulling within 90-81
with 80 seconds left. But Hamilton sank a technical foul shot
and Clifford Robinson
beat the shot clock with a 3-pointer to
"It was certainly a much-needed great effort for our team,"
Detroit coach Rick Carlisle said. "I thought everybody played
hard and our bench gave us a big lift. Once again we had strong
play from our backcourt of Chauncey and Rip Hamilton. Both of
those guys were very productive. We are really happy to come out
of this with a win."
Okur and Michael Curry
had 10 points apiece and Ben Wallace
grabbed 13 rebounds for the Pistons, who swept the season series
from the Rockets for the first time since the 1991-92 campaign.
"It felt great," Hamilton said. "We just had a tough road trip
and we knew we couldn't pass up a chance to win a home game
against a team that's struggling."
Detroit shot 47 percent (33-of-70) overall, made 8-of-19
3-pointers and was 22-of-24 from the free throw line.
scored 25 points and rookie Yao Ming
added 20 and
eight rebounds for Houston (30-30), which has lost 10 of its
last 14 games to fall to .500 for the first time since November
"Self-confidence is something that can be contagious," Yao said
through an interpreter. "If one person loses it, maybe it's OK.
But if two people do, it starts affecting everybody. I think
this is something our whole team has to work on."
Yao made 6-of-10 shots in his second matchup with Wallace, the
reigning Defensive Player of the Year.
"I used the last game against him as a reference," Yao said.
"He's a great shot blocker but that also means he fouls
"The guy is an elite player at the center position defensively,"
Houston coach Rudy Tomjanovich said of Wallace. "I thought Yao
hung in there real good with him. I was very proud of some of
the things he did."
Houston's All-Star guard Steve Francis
was held scoreless in the
first half and finished with 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting.