AUBURN HILLS, Mich., April 26 (Ticker) -- Richard Hamilton and the
Detroit Pistons had more than a leg to stand on.
Hamilton scored 18 points despite an ankle injury and was part
of a balanced attack as the Pistons again toyed with the
Milwaukee Bucks, 109-98, and opened a commanding 2-0 lead in
their Eastern Conference first-round series.
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Tayshaun Prince scored 22 points to lead six players in double
figures for the top-seeded Pistons, who have hardly been tested
in the first two games of what is shaping up to be a lopsided
In Game One, Detroit did it with defense, limiting Milwaukee to
74 points. In Game Two, the Pistons flashed their offense,
shooting 51 percent (42-of-83) from the field and collected 28
"Milwaukee shoots a lot of jump shots and our big guys do a good
job of getting the rebounds," said Pistons guard
Chauncey Billups, who scored 20 points. "We're able to make some long
outlet passes and we have the guys who can get out fast. Then
we're off to the races."
Hamilton scored 21 points while limiting Bucks star guard
Michael Redd to 11 in the opener but suffered a sprained left
ankle in the fourth quarter. He aggravated the injury late in
the first quarter but not before helping the Pistons get off to
a good start with eight points.
"It scared me because it hurt for a couple of minutes, but I
just pushed myself through it," Hamilton said. "I didn't want
to sit out too long and have it tighten up."
Hamilton returned and finished with 18 points on 7-of-12
shooting, adding eight assists in 33 minutes as he showed no ill
effects from the injury. He came up a bucket short of his 52nd
20-point game in 67 career playoff contests.
The Pistons are more than just Hamilton, however. In racing to
a 61-48 halftime lead, they received key contributions from
reserves Maurice Evans and Antonio McDyess, who combined for 14
points on 5-of-7 shooting before the break.
"They posed a lot of problems for us," Redd said. "Whether it's
Tayshaun on (the) blocks, Rip coming off screens,
Rasheed (Wallace) popping out and McDyess getting off as well. They
have a versatile team. I think their offense is underrated."
It was typical of the Pistons that their first five baskets of
the game came from five different players.
"That's how we beat people," Billups said. "We know there's
strength in numbers. When the game starts, we don't know what
matchup we're going to attack. We just see how it goes. We see
how the flow is. Early in this game everyone had good looks."
Detroit's balance is a headache for an opposing coach.
"You don't know where they're going to come up with it, but they
usually come up with it, whether it's Chauncey, Rasheed,
Tayshaun or Rip - or McDyess," Bucks coach Terry Stotts said.
"Any one of their guys can make plays to stop runs, start runs,
The eighth-seeded Bucks cut a 10-point deficit to 39-37 midway
through the second quarter before Evans had two 3-pointers and a
pair of free throws in a 12-0 run that gave the Pistons a 51-37
lead with 3:13 remaining.
"Mo (Evans) gave us a boost at both ends tonight," Pistons coach Flip Saunders
said. "Guys have confidence in him. The guys on the bench want
to play more, but they have to do what he did. He came with
the right frame of mind."
"I feel like I can be an important part of this team at any
time," Evans said. "I'm happy he gave me a chance, and I'm
happy I was able to make the most of it."
Detroit widened a 61-48 halftime lead to 85-67 as reserve guard
Lindsey Hunter made a 3-pointer and steal, feeding Prince for a
thunderous dunk with 2:29 left in the third quarter. Milwaukee
got no closer than 10 points thereafter.
McDyess scored 13 points and Rasheed Wallace added 12 for the
Pistons, who made 10 3-pointers and committed just nine
"We have so many guys that can hurt you as opposed to teams that
have only one or two guys that can really hurt you," Billups
said. "You can adjust your defense to stop one or two guys. YOu
can't do that when you play us. We have too many options."
Redd was able to get loose for 29 points on 10-of-18 shooting.
T.J. Ford added 17 points for the Bucks, who shot 43.5 percent
Milwaukee will host Games Three and Four on Saturday and Monday.
It has not been swept in a best-of-seven series since the 1989
conference semifinals against Detroit.
"They call it home court advantage for a reason, so we'll go
home and take advantage of it," Stotts said.
"They'll be more comfortable at home, but we're not playing
Milwaukee," Saunders said. "We're playing ourselves. Whether we're home or away we want to play our offense
and our defense. Hopefully, if we do that there won't be a