AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Jan. 15 (Ticker) -- Allen Iverson
Philadelphia 76ers showed their fight. The Detroit Pistons
displayed their championship pedigree.
, Rasheed Wallace
and Tayshaun Prince
clutch shots in the final 80 seconds as the Pistons recovered
after blowing a big lead to edge the 76ers, 99-95, for their
fifth straight win.
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"This is the fourth (game) in five nights and it feels like it,"
Billups said. "Games like this and wins like this mean a lot.
It's better than winning a game by 20 points, or 10-12 points.
Winning a game like this just builds a lot of character and
builds trust in everybody. This was a great win."
Detroit coach Larry Brown said he could tell a lot of his
players were running on empty.
"We're fortunate we got a win," Brown said. "I don't know how,
but we'll take it. I think under the circumstances, this was
probably the most meaningful win for me as a coach, watching
what these guys did. They could have packed it in."
The defending NBA champion Pistons (22-14) methodically worked
their way to an 80-66 lead early in the fourth quarter, relying
on Richard Hamilton's
offense and an assault on the offensive
But the 76ers (16-20) went to a small lineup and rallied to take
the lead with a 25-8 surge over the next nine minutes. Iverson
had a 3-pointer and three-point play before his two free throws
with 2:12 left gave Philadelphia a 90-88 lead, its first since
"Going small energized us and we got back into the game,"
Philadelphia coach Jim O'Brien said. "Then we went bigger and
got over the hump."
The Pistons appeared to be unraveling as they missed a shot,
committed a foul and saw forward Antonio McDyess
whistled for a
technical foul. Three free throws by Kyle Korver
advantage to 93-88 with 1:58 to play before Detroit called
timeout and regrouped.
After Hamilton drove for a hoop, Billups drilled a tying
3-pointer at the 1:20 mark. Iverson, who had 28 points and a
season-high 13 assists, took a bad shot and Wallace made him pay
by popping free for a 17-footer with 48 seconds left.
Rookie Andre Iguodala
tied it with a reverse layup with 38
seconds remaining, but Prince struck at the other end with a
12-footer over Iguodala with 24 seconds to go.
"We had run the first play for Rip (Hamilton) and we came back
with the same play and they thought we were going the same way,
so it was definitely a good read," Prince said. "I just had to
make a play."
The Sixers had two good chances to tie or win, but Korver missed
an open 3-pointer and Kenny Thomas
missed a 15-footer. Prince
sank two free throws with a second left to seal the win.
"I was wide open," said Korver, who made 2-of-5 3-pointers and
scored 11 points. "I was so open that it surprised me, but it
didn't go in. That happens. Maybe next time."
Iverson was disappointed in the loss, but not in the chances the
76ers had at the end.
"It was perfect," he said. "I'd take it anytime. I'd take the
shot Kenny had. We had the opportunity to tie it up and go into
overtime, we just couldn't get it done. You can make all the
excuses you want. They were just better than us tonight. But
we'll be back."
Hamilton scored 25 points, Prince added 19 and Ben Wallace
and 12 rebounds for the Pistons, who have won 10 of 12 since a
"We're playing a lot better now," said Billups, who had 12
points, nine assists and seven rebounds. "We're playing a lot
like we did last year; we're starting to regain some of our
The Pistons held a 45-38 advantage on the boards but hurt
themselves with 20 turnovers, which led to 22 Philadelphia
Thomas had 16 points and 12 rebounds and Marc Jackson
points for the Sixers, who had six players in double figures but
lost for the fourth time in five games. Philadelphia has lost
14 of its last 21 in Detroit.
"That's why the Pistons win championships," Korver said. "They
are tough. We should have put them away, but we didn't get it