Hamilton, Pistons Cruise Past Warriors
Detroit 97, Golden State 85
AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Dec. 23 (Ticker) -- Maurice Evans helped the Detroit Pistons keep from looking ahead.
Evans came off the bench to score five of his 13 points in a decisive second-quarter run as the Pistons tuned up for their Christmas showdown with their sixth straight win, a 97-85 victory over the slumping Golden State Warriors.
As easy as things have come for the Pistons this season, it would be understandable if they looked past the Warriors, who were finishing up a disappointing road trip. Instead, Detroit never trailed and led by as many as 18 points in the fourth quarter.
"I was concerned because everywhere you walked the last three days, people didn't even know we played Friday," Detroit coach Flip Saunders said. "I think most of the people were talking about Sunday - except for TV, which talked about Miami and the Lakers. You are always concerned, so I was happy that we were pretty focused when we started the game."
Evans, a quiet offseason signing by president Joe Dumars, continued to carve a niche with his new team. He shook off two scoreless games to make 5-of-9 shots and grab six rebounds.
"I think that I was just fortunate to be able to get into the rhythm as soon as I came into the game," Evans said. "I think that's one thing that really enables me to get going. When I came in, I got a good look at the basket, got some rebounds. Everything just seemed to fall right."
After a layup by Baron Davis pulled Golden State within 33-32 with 8:25 left, Evans scored five points in a 15-2 burst. A layup by Hamilton, who sank 12-of-19 shots, made it 48-34 with 2:26 to play in the first half.
"The Pistons just have so many ways to come at you, so many places that they can go," Golden State coach Mike Montgomery said. "They're confident in their ability to score the ball. Hamilton seemed like he could get a shot whenever he wanted and he shot a very good percentage."
A free throw by Evans gave the Pistons their largest lead at 83-65 with 10:11 to go before the Warriors put together a 16-5 surge, closing to 88-81 on a basket by Jason Richardson with 4:06 remaining.
However, Ben Wallace and Tayshaun Prince converted alley-oop dunks in a 7-2 spurt that sealed the win, Detroit's 15th in its last 19 meetings with Golden State.
Rasheed Wallace scored 19 points and Ben Wallace added 15 and 14 rebounds for the Pistons, who shot 48 percent (38-of-79). Rasheed Wallace played despite the shooting death of his 22-year-old cousin Tyree in Philadelphia during an undercover drug buy on Thursday night.
"So many times when people are going through tough things at home or off the court, the court is everybody's safe haven," Pistons guard Chauncey Billups said. "This is where we can come for 2 1/2, three hours, we can get our mind off everything, or try to, at least.
"I thought he came today and was focused, had a fun time for three hours. I don't know about the rest of his day, the rest of his night going forward, but he was great during the game."
Rookie Ike Diogu scored a season-high 27 points on 13-of-15 shooting for Golden State, which lost the last four games of its five-game trip. Leading scorers Davis and Richardson combined for just 28 points on 12-of-31 shooting.
"At the beginning of the season, we talked about making the playoffs and sometimes things like this happen," Diogu said. "It's a long season and we've got a lot of games left to play and we're going to get this thing turned around."