Billups Magical in Pistons’ Victory
Detroit 108, Orlando 99
AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Jan. 3 (Ticker) -- Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton continue to show why they are one of the elite backcourts in the NBA.
Billups had a career-high 37 points and Hamilton added 25 as the Detroit Pistons posted a 108-99 triumph over the Orlando Magic, who had their three-game winning streak snapped.
"Chauncey had a huge night, obviously," Orlando coach Brian Hill said. "A career high and they got great play out of their backcourt - 62 points combined. That's who they are. Probably one of the best, if not the best backcourt, in the NBA."
Detroit led, 79-77, at the start of the fourth quarter and added to its advantage behind a 10-4 spurt to open the period. Billups accounted for all the points with four points and three assists.
"It was a good one," said Billups, who added nine assists. "I was just feeling good. I was being aggressive and it was just a good game. They guys were telling me to run the plays that we were running, and I just stayed aggressive."
Dwight Howard's hook with seven minutes remaining pulled Orlando within 92-85, but the Magic got no closer. Hamilton pushed the lead to 98-90 when Billups found him underneath for a easy layup with 3:36 left.
"In all my years, going back to Connecticut, I've never had a point guard like Chauncey," Hamilton said. "I've never played with one who wanted the ball in his hands in every tough situation and who could make big shots and keep his teammates involved."
Rasheed Wallace's 3-pointer from the top of the key gave the Pistons some breathing room at 103-93 with 2:16 to go. Billups drained two free throws to seal the win.
Tayshaun Prince scored 12 points and Ben Wallace added 11 and nine rebounds for Detroit, which made 8-of-19 shots from the arc en route to its ninth straight home win.
"It was important for us today to get back to playing the way that we play," Billups said. "We had a letdown in Cleveland and we wanted to get back off of that. We wanted to come back, have a good game, get back in the winning column and minimize the losing streak. We have done a good job of that all season, refocusing on the basics and starting another streak."
Howard collected his 21st double-double with 22 points and 14 rebounds for the Magic, who shot 52 percent (39-of-74) from the floor and dropped to 0-14 when trailing after three quarters.
"It's tough but tonight I think we could have got a win," said Howard, who shot 8-of-11 from the floor. "But the next time we play them, we know what we need to do. Detroit stepped it up at the end on the defensive side and won the game."