AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Jan. 14 (Ticker) --
The Detroit Pistons
overcame Ben Wallace
's first-half ejection to win their 10th
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scored a career-high 27 points and Richard Hamilton
also scored 27 to lift the Pistons to a 95-91 victory over the
Okur added 14 rebounds as he picked up the slack for Wallace,
the two-time Defensive Player of the Year who was ejected with
1:28 left in the first half after receiving two technical fouls.
He got the first for arguing an offensive foul call and the
second moments later when he kicked the basketball in anger.
"I tried to be a superstar tonight," Okur said. "It felt great
Okur and Hamilton combined to score 25 of Detroit's 27
fourth-quarter points. Okur scored 14 points in the final
period and Hamilton added 11.
With the shot clock winding down, Hamilton hit a jumper to give
the Pistons a 92-87 lead with nine seconds left.
hit a layup six seconds later, then stole the
ensuing inbounds pass. He nearly tied the game, but his
3-pointer rimmed out.
"We've had a lot of games where we lost because we didn't play
well, but this might be the worst loss of the season," Raptors
forward Donyell Marshall
said. "We had this game won ... and we
let them take it away from us in the fourth quarter."
The Pistons have won seven straight home games. The overall
winning streak is their longest since taking 11 in a row from
Dec. 26, 1990 to Jan. 17, 1991.
led Toronto with 27 points but shot just 2-of-12 in
the second half. Marshall added 20 points and 16 rebounds as
the Raptors had their two-game road winning streak snapped.
"This is very frustrating, because that's a team we are battling
for playoff position," Marshall said.
Tipoff was delayed 30 minutes because of heavy snow, forcing
the officials to arrive late. Raptors rookie center Chris Bosh
missed the game with a sprained right knee. Lonny Baxter
replaced Bosh in the starting lineup but spent most of the game
in foul trouble and finished the game with just four points and
The duo of Marshall and Carter proved to be too much for Detroit
to handle early in the game. Carter scored 15 on 5-of-8
shooting while Marshall had 14 on 6-of-8 and grabbed 12 rebounds
to push Toronto to a 49-38 halftime advantage.
"It's really hard to play without Ben (Wallace) and everybody
feels that way because he is the best defensive player in this
league," Okur said. "We came into the second half knowing we
had to play harder, especially defensively, because Ben wasn't
Detroit launched its second-half comeback by attacking the
basket and drawing fouls. The Pistons shot 32-of-41 from the
free-throw line. Okur hit 13-of-14 free throws while Hamilton
connected on 9-of-12.
Detroit opened the fourth quarter with an 11-4 run to take a
77-76 lead with 7:06 left. The lead changed hands three more
times before Hamilton's runner put Detroit ahead for good,
86-85, with 2:28 left.
"They hit a lot of free throws in the second half and when you
are fouling guys that much you are in trouble," O'Neill said.
"We just got away from what we were doing."
The game marked O'Neill's return to Detroit, where he spent the
past two seasons as an assistant.