NEW YORK, Dec. 15 (Ticker) -- Chauncey Billups
and the Detroit Pistons
trailed practically their entire game against the New York
Knicks until when it counted most.
Billups scored 15 points, including a pair of free throws with
2.6 seconds left, as the Pistons rallied from a 16-point
second-half deficit to defeat the Knicks, 94-93.
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scored 29 points - 17 after the break - to pace
the Pistons, who avoided their first three-game losing streak
of the season.
"I liked the second half," said Pistons coach Larry Brown, who
tied Bill Fitch for fourth place on the all-time wins list with
944. "We fought back, cut a 16-point lead to six, let them get
back and didn't give up."
Detroit was in a 56-40 hole at the break and still trailed,
93-90, after New York's Kurt Thomas
split a pair of free throws
with 34 seconds left. Hamilton made a short baseline jumper six
seconds later, then forced Jamal Crawford
into an off-balance
jumper with six seconds left.
Billups grabbed the long rebound near the foul line and sprinted
downcourt before being fouled by Stephon Marbury
. A 91 percent
foul shooter, Billups calmly sank the pair to give Detroit its
first lead since 4-2.
"It was just instinct and you can't control instinct," Billups
said. "(Brown) told me I made a great play, a smart play. If I
didn't catch it on the run, I probably would have called
timeout. But I caught it with so much momentum, I just wanted
After a pair of timeouts, the Knicks inbounded to Marbury, who
briefly lost control of the ball, regained it but badly missed a
long scoop shot just before the buzzer.
"We tried to pressure them," Brown said. "With 2.6 seconds, I'm
not that concerned with them throwing it back. We made a good
play. I think we got about three stops in a row down the
stretch. If we play hard, something good is going to happen."
Billups' clutch foul shots atoned for his earlier missed
3-pointer. With the Knicks ahead, 92-90, Billups was left open
but misfired with 50 seconds remaining.
"This was a tough game," Billups said. "I felt if we could get
some stops, we could win the game. We kept grinding and
grinding, and that's the way we play. We stuck in, stayed
strong and pulled it out."
Crawford scored 25 points and Marbury 18 for New York, which
failed to match its season-high three-game winning streak.
"We shouldn't have been in that situation tonight," Marbury
said. "We stopped executing. We started taking bad shots and
stopped doing the things that got us ahead."
The Knicks fell to 10-4 when leading at halftime. Four of their
last five defeats have been when they have led through 24
New York wasted a season-high 17 points from guard
, who hit a 12-foot jump shot with 1:42 to play that gave
the Knicks a 92-88 advantage.
"It's disappointing because we have had games like this before
and we aren't mature enough to capitalize on mistakes at the end
of game," Houston said. "When things are going well for us, we
aren't disciplined enough to continue to stick to what is
working. We will get there, but we have to get there quick,
because throughout the season you establish certain habits."
scored 18 points and Tayshaun Prince
14 for Detroit, which improved to 3-0 in one-point games. The
Pistons also shot 51 percent (19-of-37) in the second half while
holding the Knicks to 36 percent (14-of-39).