INDIANAPOLIS, Jan. 27 (Ticker) --
Detroit Pistons guards Richard Hamilton
and Chauncey Billups
thoroughly outplayed their Indiana
Hamilton scored 20 points and Billups 17 and the duo limited
Indiana guards Jamaal Tinsley
and Reggie Miller
to just six as
the Pistons defeated the Pacers 88-76 in the second meeting
between the teams since the events of Nov. 19 at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
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added 16 points, Rasheed Wallace
chipped in 13
and Ben Wallace
collected 10 and 11 rebounds for the Pistons,
who also posted a 98-93 victory here on Dec. 25.
"I like playing here," Rasheed Wallace said. "This is a good
rivalry. Their fans are behind them 100 percent and they are
hard on the opposing team. I like that."
"We came in very focused tonight," Billups said. "Rip (Hamilton)
and I look to be aggressive every night, no matter who we are
playing. We don't look at it as a matchup thing."
In this one, Detroit shot 73 percent (11-of-15) in the first
quarter and 57 percent (17-of-30) in the half, yet held just a
47-40 lead at the break. But after the Pacers reduced a
13-point deficit entering the final period to 72-64 on a pair of Jermaine O'Neal
free throws with 9½ minutes left, Rasheed
Wallace and Billups countered with back-to-back 3-pointers and
the Pistons pulled away.
Miller was held to four points and Tinsley just two for the
Pacers, who shot just 40 percent (27-of-67). Tinsley had missed
Indiana's 100-86 loss at Boston on Wednesday with the flu.
The buzz in Indiana's locker room after the game centered around
a television report that claimed Miller told teammates that he
will retire at the end of the season. Miller denied the rumor.
"That is absolutely false," a visibly aggravated Miller said.
"Once again, (sideline reporter) Craig Sager with inaccurate
reporting. If and when I make a statement like that, the two
people at (television network) TNT that I would speak to are Sir
Charles (Barkley) or Cheryl Miller. So for you to report
something like that ... I'm very disappointed.
"I'm not worried about this summer. Right now I'm worried about
a three-game losing streak and about how to get this turned
O'Neal scored 27 points to pace Indiana (20-21), which slipped
below .500 for the first time since April 2002.
"The month of January has been brutal on us," O'Neal said. "I'm
disappointed. Last year, we won 61 games and this year, we are
20-21 at the halfway point. We just have to figure out a way to
weather the storm."
Playing his second game since serving a 30-game suspension for his actions on Nov. 19, Stephen Jackson added
11 points but made just 4-of-13 shots.
Matched up against Jackson, Prince scored eight points in the
first quarter and added another four in the second, making all
five of his shot attempts in the half.
"We knew they were going to try to get Jermaine and Jackson some
touches," Rasheed Wallace said. "Jackson doesn't have his legs
yet and we went to Tayshaun early. We knew we had to come out
and set the tempo."