Billups, Hamilton Lead Pistons Past Kings
Detroit 109, Sacramento 98
AUBURN HILLS, Michigan, Dec. 14 (Ticker) -- The Sacramento Kings had no answer for Chauncey Billups.
Billups had 28 points and a career-best 19 assists as the Detroit Pistons coasted to an effortless 109-98 victory over the Kings, who had a three-game winning streak snapped.
Richard Hamilton scored 36 points for the Pistons, who got all but seven points from their starters and made 10-of-20 3-pointers as they won for the seventh time in eight games.
Rasheed Wallace had 19 points and eight rebounds and Ben Wallace grabbed 17 rebounds and blocked five shots. Frustrated with his play, Ben Wallace had one of his best performances of the season.
"Once we get the ball and bodies moving and scrambling around, you can get to the boards," Wallace said. "That's when we play our best."
A 6-3 point guard in his ninth season, Billups is flourishing in coach Flip Saunders' motion offense. He is averaging a career-high 8.1 assists per game, fourth in the NBA, and posted the league's highest total this season.
"He's (Billups) a hell of a player," said Sacramento guard Mike Bibby, who scored 14 points. "I think he's underrated. He deserves a lot more credit than people give him. He's one of the top point guards in the league."
"If you look at the top point guards in each conference, you have Steve Nash in the West and Chauncey in the East," Saunders said. "He's the one guy in this league who has the complete package."
Billups had 14 points and 11 assists in the first half as the Pistons opened a 56-48 lead. The Kings closed to 67-66 before the Pistons put together a 15-6 surge that featured six points by Hamilton and two assists by Billups and rebuilt the lead to double digits.
"When we struggle like that our defense pulls us out of it," Billups said. "If we're not scoring, we're usually not letting the other team score, either."
"We all know he can make shots," Saunders said. "But when he has a lot of assists, it means our offense is working."
Billups' jumper with 5:25 left gave Detroit a 101-83 lead.
"He (Billups) told me he was going to feed me because I wasn't missing," said Hamilton, who made 15-of-27 shots. "He played great tonight. When we're both hitting like this it's a matter of pick your poison. We feed off each other."
Brad Miller had 16 points and nine rebounds and Shareef Abdur-Rahim scored 14 points for Sacramento, which made just 3-of-12 from the arc.
"I don't think we ever made enough stops," Kings coach Rick Adelman said. "They were in control after the first half. Their two guards shot extremely well. I don't think it was ever in doubt in the fourth quarter the way they were shooting the ball."