Pistons Top Knicks, Set New Franchise Mark
New York 103, Detroit 97
AUBURN HILLS, Mich., April 16 (Ticker) -- Behind Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince, the Detroit Pistons took advantage of a second chance to establish a franchise first.
Hamilton scored 28 points and Prince added 20 as the Pistons set a franchise record for wins in a season with a 103-97 triumph over the New York Knicks.
"I think what it does is it shows the character of the team, the whole roster, your ability to go out every night and perform at a high level," Detroit coach Flip Saunders said. "To win that many games, you don't take too many days off. Especially the start that we had, it seemed like everyone was playing pretty much their Super Bowl."
Lindsey Hunter, who was with the team when they lost 62 games in the 1993-94 season, wasn't overly excited about the accomplishment.
"It means absolutely nothing," Hunter said. "It's good but our goal is to win a championship. That's our goal. Everything else is fine and dandy but nobody's going to remember that if we don't win a championship."
Detroit put this one away early, making 13 of its first 15 shots and racing to a 15-0 lead in the first 3 1/2 minutes.
Hamilton scored 14 points and Prince 12 as the Pistons extended the advantage to 40-18 after one quarter.
"It was embarrassing," Knicks guard Jamal Crawford said. "I thought we played hard for the last three quarters. It was hard playing catch-up. We ended up losing by six but the first quarter was devastating."
The Pistons, who improved to 37-3 at home, already have wrapped up home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. Detroit has won eight in a row over New York at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
"It's cool," Rasheed Wallace said. "It's what we've been waiting for all year. The regular season, you know, we got up for a couple teams but we weren't excited about the regular season. Now that the playoffs are here, this is what we want. This is what we've been waiting for since Game 7, so go out there and do it."
New York (22-58) was without coach Larry Brown for the second game and may be without him for the final two contests of the season. The 65-year-old Brown was taken off on a stretcher during the Knicks' loss to Cleveland on Thursday, complaining of an upset stomach and later hospitalized.
"We settled down. And for three quarters, we played basketball," New York assistant coach Herb Williams said. "I'm really proud of our guys because they didn't quit, which probably would have been easy for some guys to do, but they played hard for the whole game."
Rookie guard Nate Robinson scored 23 points and Crawford and Jackie Butler had 18 each for New York.