Billups Rallies Pistons Past Suns
Detroit 109, Phoenix 102
AUBURN HILLS, Mich., April 2 (Ticker) -- Chauncey Billups and the Detroit Pistons were determined to be the only team in the NBA to avoid losing to the Phoenix Suns this season.
Billups scored 28 of his 35 points in the second half as the Pistons rallied from a 17-point deficit to defeat the Suns, 109-102.
"Chauncey was amazing," said Phoenix point guard Steve Nash, the reigning league MVP. "He made some shots from 30 feet. It's tough to beat a team when a guys is making shots like he was tonight and he was just terrific.
"We were fighting a little fatigue and when a guy is making shots like he was - it's not like we were making a lot of mistakes on him - he was just making shots that were incredible."
Billups admitted he enjoyed matching up against elite players like Nash.
"When you look at a game like today, it's a lot of fun," Billups said. "Personally, for me, to get to play against Steve Nash, it was great. He always makes me play harder and I just have to step up to that challenge."
On Sunday, the Pistons trailed, 58-41, with 2:15 remaining in the second quarter and were behind by 63-49 at the break after allowing the Suns to shoot 68 percent (26-of-38). The 63 points are the most the Pistons have allowed in any half this season.
But Detroit (59-14) clamped down defensively in the second half, allowing Phoenix to connect on just 37 percent (14-of-38), while Billups got hit from the outside. He nailed five 3-pointers after the break, including two down the stretch, eliciting chants of "M-V-P!, M-V-P!"
Phoenix held a 96-94 edge before Billups made a 3-pointer with 4:18 left. Nash countered with a fadeaway in the lane before Billups again connected from the arc to five the Pistons the lead for good, 100-98, with 3:40 to go.
Tayshaun Prince followed with a dunk with 2:25 left, and Phoenix got no closer than three points thereafter.
"I thought we made great adjustments in the second half," Detroit coach Flip Saunders said. "You can talk about turning it up, but I think the big thing is that our team has the ability to see how a team plays, then make the adjustments to get into their weaknesses. You can turn up your energy, but you still have to be able to beat the other team."
Shawn Marion collected 32 points and 10 rebounds for the Suns, who were coming off a 140-point effort at Toronto on Friday. Phoenix (49-24) completed a five-game Eastern Conference road trip at 2-3.
"They made a good run at us, and they won the game," Marion said. "Give them credit for that, but this was our fifth game in seven days, and if a couple calls or a couple shots go our way, we still might win."
"We'd like to think so (road trip took toll) but it's Detroit," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "They're a hell of a defensive team. My God, that's what they do. Again, I thought we had our chances. We had some good looks and we didn't knock them down. If you don't do that, you're not going to beat them."
Rasheed Wallace - who nearly did not start for Detroit after arriving late because he failed to account for Daylight Savings Time - received a technical foul at 3:26 of the third quarter, his 19th of the season and 16th that counts toward a suspension.
Two were rescinded by the league and one was for hanging on the rim. He is expected to be suspended for the Pistons' next game.
"I don't care about that No. 16 (stuff)," Wallace said. "Y'all should know that coming from me. It ain't going to change nothing about us and what we doing. Y'all should know that."