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Detroit 104, Philadelphia 97 (OT)
Pistons Princely in OT Win Over Sixers

Tayshaun Prince celebrates after leading the Pistons to a Game 2 win.
Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images/NBAE

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AUBURN HILLS, Mich., May 8 (Ticker) -- Allen Iverson didn't look like an All-Star, and Tayshaun Prince didn't look like a rookie.

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Prince forced overtime with 4.2 seconds left, then scored seven points in the extra session to lift the Detroit Pistons to a 104-97 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers and a 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference Semifinals series.

A first-round pick who played sparingly during the season, Prince had 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds. He has seen increased playing time in the postseason because his slender 6-9 frame makes him a tough matchup for opposing guards, as Aaron McKie and Greg Buckner found out.

"I've been playing a lot of minutes lately, so I've got to bring something. I've been sitting there just visualizing things and evaluating what's going on on the court," Prince said. "When you haven't played all season, you just get this hungriness inside you that when you get on the court, you want to bring something to the team."

"You know how they say that long-distance runners have a really low heart rate, like in the 30s or 40s?" Pistons coach Rick Carlisle said. "That guy's got a heart rate that might be in the 20s. He's so calm. It's been amazing what he's done in the last week to 10 days."

Prince got a chance to play in place of injured guard Chauncey Billups, who sat out with a sprained left ankle. He got a chance to be a hero after Iverson uncharacteristically missed two free throws with 15 seconds left in the fourth quarter, leaving Philadelphia with a 92-90 lead.

"I had an opportunity to put them away and I couldn't do it," Iverson said. "I have a bad taste in my mouth right now. I'll take the blame for this one because we did enough to win. I just didn't do enough. If I'd made one or two free throws, we'd be going home happy."

Starting from the right wing against Buckner, Prince dribbled into the lane and spun toward the hoop for the hook shot. Eric Snow shot an airball on a three-pointer at the buzzer.

"This is a big one," Prince said. "Obviously, it was a big shot in my career and hopefully, it can continue to get better."

It did in overtime, where the Pistons set an NBA record by going 8-0 this season, including one win against the Sixers. They never trailed in the extra session as Prince opened the period with another inside hoop against McKie and a three-pointer that beat the shot clock.

"They were excited they tied it up and we were down," Snow said. "The first couple minutes we were playing like we were upset that we were in overtime. They took advantage of it and jumped out to a quick lead and we were playing catch-up."

Philadelphia cut the deficit to 100-97 and could have tied it, but McKie missed a three-pointer with 35 seconds to go. On the next possession, Prince backed down McKie and put in another soft lefthanded hook to seal it with 14 seconds remaining.

"You've got to give Tayshaun all the credit," Carlisle said. "He seized the opportunity when it was presented to him and he continues to deliver, and it's been great to see. I am a huge fan of his."

"We have to watch some film and see what we can do different (against Prince)," McKie said. "But when you have a guy that's so long and is lefthanded, it's kind of awkward to play against because you don't play against that every day."

Prince was the second rookie in as many games to come through in the clutch for the Pistons. In Game 1, reserve center Mehmet Okur scored 16 points on 7-of-7 shooting. "It's playoffs time and guys are going to step up and play basketball," Iverson said. "The guys that are out there on the basketball court are out there for a reason. They just don't drag guys off the street and put them on NBA rosters. Guys work hard for this all their lives to get this far, and you have to have respect for everybody in the NBA, regardless of if he's the 12th man on the bench."

"Tayshaun Prince was the man," Pistons guard Chucky Atkins said. "I've been watching him all year during practice and I knew he was going to succeed. It was just a matter of him getting his opportunity. He works hard and even though he wasn't getting an opportunity to play, he continued to work hard. This guy's going to be putting on a show here for a long time."

Atkins started for Billups and scored 23 points. Richard Hamilton also scored 23 points for Detroit, which has won five straight playoff games.

Iverson had 31 points and seven assists for Philadelphia, which hosts Games 3 and 4 on Saturday and Sunday. It never has won a series after losing the first two games.

"We had the game won," Sixers coach Larry Brown lamented. "In the playoffs, that's tough. Last year we had a big game in Boston won. Not having the home court, it puts you in jeopardy."

Jon Barry scored all 11of his points in the fourth quarter, helping the Pistons build leads of eight and six points.

"Coach ran my one play and I got that three in the corner to start the fourth," Barry said. "Once I made that, he let me stay in there and I was able to get some stuff going. I appreciate the play call and there was no way I was going to miss that one. I knew I was sitting down if it didn't go in."

But the Sixers rallied to tie it each time. A layup and free throw by Hamilton gave Detroit an 89-86 lead with 2:27 remaining. Iverson found Kenny Thomas for a layup, then made two free throws at the 1:40 mark to give Philadelphia the lead.

After Atkins missed a layup, Iverson penetrated and passed to Snow, whose jumper made it 92-89 with 57 seconds to go. Hamilton missed 1-of-2 free throws, then threw away a pass that Iverson stole to seemingly seal it.

Clifford Robinson scored 16 points and Ben Wallace grabbed 15 rebounds for the Pistons, who missed 14 free throws and got crushed on the boards, 48-35. They shot 48 percent (36-of-75), including 11-of-22 from beyond the arc.

Thomas had 15 points and 19 rebounds and Derrick Coleman added 12 and 13 for the Sixers, who shot 45.5 percent (40-of-88). Snow scored 14 points despite a painful right foot.

"We are excited about the position we are in," Robinson said. "We just can't let the opportunity slip away."

Detroit spent much of the game building leads and blowing them.

A jumper by Wallace beat the shot clock and gave Detroit its largest lead at 43-29 midway through the second quarter, but Philadelphia fought back within 52-44 at halftime and took its first lead, 55-54, on a jumper by Iverson at the 7:33 mark of the third quarter.

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