Billups, Hamilton Keep Pistons Unbeaten
Detroit 115, Boston 100
AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Nov. 15 (Ticker) -- This time, the Detroit Pistons did not need any late heroics from Richard Hamilton to remain unbeaten.
Chauncey Billups had 25 points and 10 assists and Hamilton added 25 points as the Pistons posted a 115-100 victory over the Boston Celtics.
"We've won a championship. That's pressure," Hamilton said. "There's no pressure on you now. It's a long season. We just want to win as many games as we can and then maybe we can relax for the last couple of games."
The Pistons' biggest scare during the streak came in their second game of the season against the Celtics, when Hamilton's jumper at the buzzer lifted Detroit to an 82-81 road triumph November 4.
"We can play with this team. We've proved that," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "But they've been through so much in the past three years they can't be shaken. We've been together a month and things shake us."
Facing an 81-77 deficit, the Pistons opened the fourth quarter with an 11-2 run to take the lead for good. Wallace started the spurt with a 3-pointer with 10:37 left and Carlos Arroyo added a jumper 20 seconds later to make it 82-81.
"No matter what's going on, we're never out," said Billups, who scored 17 points in the third quarter. "We may be down, but we're never out."
Hamilton hit a pair of free throws and Ricky Davis and Wallace traded baskets before Hamilton capped the burst with a layup to push the advantage to 88-83 with 7:52 remaining.
Detroit's leading scorer, Hamilton said that the ability to come back is the sign of a winning team.
"Look at all the great teams - the Chicago Bulls, the Lakers - they all know how to step up in the fourth quarter," Hamilton said. "We're starting to get that same swagger."
After a basket by Paul Pierce drew the Celtics within 92-87 with 5:30 to go, Tayshaun Prince and Wallace converted three-point plays around a basket by Raef LaFrentz to spark a game-sealing 14-6 burst over the next three minutes.
"They picked up the pressure and forced us out of our offense and we kind of lost our composure," Pierce said. "Give them credit. They took us out of a lot of things we like to do."
The NBA's top defensive team, the Pistons had no answers in the first half for the Celtics, who shot 67 percent (26-of-39) from the field to build a 58-48 lead. Davis led the outburst, scoring 22 of his 31 points in the opening two periods.
"I don't know what that first half was," Wallace said. "It was the worst half we've played as a unit since I've been here. The second half was pretty good, but not the best."
Billups took over in the third period and scored 14 straight points for Detroit, cutting the deficit to 78-77 before Pierce drained a 3-pointer in the waning seconds.
"He just took it right to the basket," said Davis, who tried to guard Billups. "He's strong and can still get the shot off after the foul."
Pierce scored 23 points for Boston, which shot 33 percent (7-of-21) over the last 12 minutes.