AUBURN HILLS, Mich., May 20 (Ticker) -- The last game of the Eastern Conference semifinals was much like the first, which was bad news for the New Jersey Nets.

Chauncey Billups scored 22 points and Richard Hamilton had 21 as the Detroit Pistons advanced to the conference finals for the second straight season with a 90-69 victory in Game 7.

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Rasheed Wallace was delighted with the outcome of Game 7.
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New Jersey nearly set a postseason record for futility with just 56 points in Game One but bounced back to win three of the next four games, including a triple-overtime thriller in Game 5. But the Nets squandered a chance to seal the series on their home court in Game 6 before putting forth another dismal performance in the series finale.

New Jersey was held to 19 points or less in each quarter and made just 36 percent (24-of-67) of its shots from the floor. Jason Kidd was 0-for-8 and held scoreless in the postseason for the first time in his career.

"All the shots I took looked good, felt good, but didn't go in," Kidd said. "There are no excuses. Detroit was the better team. We showed up and we lost, no excuses."

The Nets jumped out to a 10-4 lead - the second straight game they started well - but the Pistons closed the opening period with a 17-4 run to take control. Rasheed Wallace scored half of his 12 points during the spurt and Hamilton closed the quarter with consecutive jumpers for a 21-14 edge.

The Pistons had a 40-31 lead at halftime and put away the game by scoring 14 of the first 16 points in the second half, highlighted by a pair of 3-pointers from Billups.

"At the beginning of the third quarter, they really set the tone," Frank said. "Unfortunately, we weren't able to respond."

Detroit got an unexpected lift offensively from Ben Wallace, who scored 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting. He had averaged only 10.7 points on 40 percent (23-of-58) shooting in the first six games of the series.

Wallace made a pair of baskets in the opening minutes and buried a few 15 to 18-foot jumpers during the game that brought the crowd to its feet.

"I wasn't looking to have a monster game," Wallace said."If we were going to go down tonight, we were going to go down swinging. That means I wasn't going to pass up any shots. They gave me the outside shots and luckily, I was able to knock a couple of them down."

Detroit shot just 40 percent (34-of-85) from the floor but made 8-of-21 3-pointers and committed only nine turnovers. New Jersey was 3-of-16 from 3-point range and had 16 miscues.

Kerry Kittles scored 18 points and Richard Jefferson and Kenyon Martin added 17 apiece for the Nets, who had reached the NBA Finals each of the last two seasons.

"It's a tremendous disappointment," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "You work every day and prepare every day to put yourselves in a position to win a championship. Unfortunately, we didn't get it done this year."

The Pistons will face the Indiana Pacers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals on Saturday. Detroit was swept by the Nets in the conference finals last season.

"Tonight everybody came together and we fought," Hamilton said. "But there's a lot of things we want to accomplish and we're still one step away."

"Right now we've put ourselves in a position where we were last year - back in the Eastern Conference finals," Wallace said. "We're going to enjoy this for a little while but we really want to take that next step and try to get to the (NBA) Finals."