LOS ANGELES, June 6 (Ticker) -- Cancel the coronation, stop planning the parade route and don't start taking ring sizes just yet for the Los Angeles Lakers. The Detroit Pistons have come to play.

Led by their trademark daunting defense and some timely offense from Chauncey Billups, the Pistons turned The Finals upside down with a shocking 87-75 victory over the heavily-favored Lakers in Game 1.

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Chauncey Billups went for 8-for-14 from the floor in Game 1 for Detroit.
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The pressure-tested Pistons withstood a big game from Shaquille O'Neal and a bad game from Richard Hamilton to ambush the Lakers, who came into this series as odds-on favorites.

For the Lakers, D-Day came in the form of Detroit's defense, which silenced everyone except O'Neal and Kobe Bryant with a thoroughly squelching performance. Future Hall of Famers Karl Malone and Gary Payton combined for seven points; five other Lakers totaled nine.

"I don't know if we could ever defend better," said Pistons coach Larry Brown, who also ambushed the Lakers here with Philadelphia in the 2001 Finals opener. "We contested shots. We did an unbelievable job, and that's what it's going to take."

"They took everybody else out of the game," said Lakers coach Phil Jackson, whose march to a record 10th championship has been stalled.

Billups scored 22 points, totally outplaying a perplexed Payton at point guard. He shook off a slump and picked up the slack for Hamilton, who had come in with eight straight 20-point games but was limited to 12 on an uncharacteristic 5-of-16 shooting as he clearly was in the crosshairs of the defense.

"I wanted to be aggressive," Billups said. "One thing is no matter how bad I play, I never lose confidence. I know what I can do. I know I'm going to be aggressive."

"When you focus on one player, you can't on this team because we spread the floor and we play together and we did that tonight," Hamilton said.

For the fourth time in as many series, the Pistons stole a road game. They get a chance for another on Tuesday, when the Lakers should be taking matters far more seriously.

"I don't look at us as underdogs," said Brown, who managed a masterful game.

"It puts a lot of pressure on us for the next game," said O'Neal, who made 13-of-16 shots.

In their first home loss in 10 playoff games, the Lakers endured a combined 0-of-8 from Malone and Payton in the first half and went nearly 20 minutes without a free throw in the second half. They had 16 turnovers and just 15 assists and got just one basket from their bench.

A 3-pointer by Billups capped a 10-4 surge that opened the second half and gave the Pistons the lead for good. They nursed it through the third quarter, then pounced with O'Neal on the bench, pushing the advantage to 73-60 on a jumper by Hamilton with 9:16 to go.

"We could not get any stops, especially in the third quarter," O'Neal said.

The Lakers climbed back into it as the Pistons went nearly five minutes without a basket, closing to 74-68 on two free throws by Bryant, who needed 27 shots to score 25 points.

But Tayshaun Prince - whose sprawling wingspan clearly bothered Bryant - ended the drought with a 3-pointer at the 4:21 mark that silenced the sellout crowd at the Staples Center. Pick-and-roll jumpers by Rasheed Wallace and Billups answered desperation baskets by the Lakers and pushed the dagger in deeper.

"Pick your poison," Billups said. "Either you trap me and leave one of those guys open or you let me come off and hope that everyone else helps."

"We're not happy just to be here," said Wallace, who overcame foul trouble to collect 14 points and eight rebounds. "Everyone in that locker room is hungry."

By the end, Brown's instructions from the sidelines could be heard over the crowd, which was filing out. Perhaps they should have been listening, because he clearly outcoached Jackson.

In the first half, Brown resembled a man trying to squeeze the last bit of toothpaste out of the tube. He defended Bryant with Prince instead of Hamilton. He rotated his big men to account for Rasheed Wallace's two early fouls. And he got some help from veteran 7-footer Elden Campbell, who had nine DNPs in the postseason.

Campbell did the best job on O'Neal, who had an overpowering 20 points and could have had a lot more had his teammates thrown him the ball. The Lakers had just four assists in the first half, a total matched by Campbell.

Billups wasted no time making his mark with 11 points in the first quarter while putting Payton in foul trouble. Early in the second period, he went hurtling over the first row of seats to save a loose ball off the foot of Lakers guard Kareem Rush.

"I wanted to come out and be aggressive and try to set the tone," Billups said.

The Pistons trailed just 41-40 at halftime and could have been sitting even prettier had they not missed eight free throws or gotten Hamilton untracked.