AUBURN HILLS, Mich., May 7 (Ticker) -- Although it took a while for the Detroit Pistons to get going, they had no trouble stopping the New Jersey Nets again.

With a superb second half fueled by Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton, the Pistons roared to a 95-80 victory over the Nets and a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

"We might have just played our best half of basketball," Pistons coach Larry Brown said. "I don't think we can play any better than that."

The Pistons used their trademark defense in the third quarter and uncharacteristically sharp offense in the fourth quarter to put away the two-time defending conference champion Nets, who have looked very little like themselves in the first two games.

Billups and Hamilton scored 28 points each, with Billups adding a playoff career-high 13 assists as he outplayed Nets All-Star point guard Jason Kidd. The duo combined for 34 points in the second half, when Detroit exploded for 61 points.

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Chauncey Billups lit up the Nets for 28 points and 13 assists.
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"Chauncey just had an unbelievable game against a great player," Brown said. "And I think you can say the same thing about Rip (Hamilton) against Kerry (Nets guard Kerry Kittles)."

After a lethargic first half that put them in a 46-34 hole, the Pistons unleashed their defense, forcing the Nets to miss 10 straight shots and commit seven turnovers during a stretch of nearly 10 minutes in the third quarter.

"They definitely won the first half, and we were not playing the way I know we can play," Billups said. "The third quarter was the large turning point. We had a huge run that pulled us out of the hole."

That helped Detroit open a 61-57 lead entering the final period, when the offense took over. The Pistons made eight of their first nine shots, with Hamilton draining three jumpers to push the lead to 81-66 with 5:57 to play.

After an excellent first half, the Nets made 11-of-32 shots and committed 15 turnovers in the second half.

"I don't think we were great in the first half -- it was just a good, solid half of basketball," said Nets forward Richard Jefferson, who scored 19 points. "We know we are capable of playing like that. In the second half, we just stopped doing it."

Rasheed Wallace scored 15 points for the Pistons, who are halfway toward turning the tables on the Nets and avenging last year's sweep in the conference finals. Game 3 is Sunday at New Jersey, where the Nets have not played since April 20.

"We've come a long way in three years, and now there is a bump in the road," said Kidd, who scored just eight points on 3-of-13 shooting. "Let's see how we handle it. We have to push forward, keep pushing the envelope and keep playing hard."

The Nets pushed forward in the second quarter, getting their running game in gear and frustrating the Pistons. Consecutive technical fouls against Wallace and Brown followed by Kidd's jumper gave New Jersey a 44-32 lead with 1:16 to go.

Detroit's comeback was led by defensive-minded Ben Wallace, who scored all eight of his points in the third quarter, including three mid-range jumpers. New Jersey coach Lawrence Frank took a technical foul to try and stall the surge to no avail.

Rasheed Wallace had two 3-pointers and Billups another in Detroit's decisive 17-4 run. New Jersey closed to 82-75 with 2:37 left before Billups had a tip-in and another 3-pointer.