Billups, Pistons Pummel Bobcats
Detroit 103, Charlotte 78
CHARLOTTE, N.C., Dec. 17 (Ticker) -- The Detroit Pistons continue to look flawless.
Chauncey Billups had 21 points and 12 assists and Richard Hamilton scored 15 points as the Pistons won their third straight game, an easy 103-78 victory over the slumping Charlotte Bobcats.
"When we come out and play the way we did tonight, we always make it easy on ourselves regardless of who we're playing," said Ben Wallace, who had 13 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks. "If we play with this type of energy and effort, we usually make it easy for ourselves and that's what we have to get back to doing."
On Saturday, the starters accounted for 73 points as all five reached double figures.
"I thought we came out with a good focus, especially after a back-to-back," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. "We came out methodically offensively and defensively went into a swarming defense and controlled things right from the beginning."
The first half was a nightmare for Charlotte, which shot a dismal 24 percent (10-of-41) from the floor and finished with a franchise-low 26 points. Coach Bernie Bickerstaff was ejected with 1:59 remaining in the second quarter.
"The effort in that basketball game, particularly in that first quarter, was probably the worst I've seen from this team," Bickerstaff said. "It appeared that we were in awe. As I watched it as we came out in the second half, there was more energy and we played well, but Detroit is really too good for you to have that type of deficit."
Charlotte scored the game's first two points, but Detroit scored 14 of the next 16 and never looked back.
Part of the problem was Detroit's defense, which forced 15 turnovers and blocked nine shots. The Pistons held a 50-36 advantage in points in the paint.
"We have a lot of confidence in our defense and when you're scoring offensively, they both feed off of each other," Saunders said.
"When we got out there and are active on the defensive end that allows us to get easy baskets on the offensive end," Ben Wallace said. "Taking care of the basketball and getting set defense, that's when we're playing Pistons basketball."
Prince scored 14 points for the Pistons, who shot 51 percent (42-of-82) and improved to a league-best 11-2 on the road.
"We just wanted to come out with a lot of energy early in the game and take control of the game and we were able to do that," Ben Wallace said. "That was our game plan and we had good success doing it."
Primoz Brezec scored 17 points and Emeka Okafor had 14 and 13 rebounds for Charlotte, which has lost nine of its last 10 games.
"If we don't come out and play at a certain level night in and night out, we don't have a chance at winning," Bobcats guard Brevin Knight said. "We came out tonight and they were sharp. They're the best team in this league and if you come out against the best team and think you can just lolly-gag or walk your way through it, you're going to get murdered and that's what happened to us tonight."