Daily Confidential

The Detroit Pistons look to continue their domination of the Philadelphia 76ers and win a season-high third straight game when the teams meet Tuesday at the Wachovia Center.

Detroit has won three in a row against Philadelphia and eight of the last nine meetings, and is coming off back-to-back home victories over Washington and Houston.

The Pistons avoided a third straight loss with a 100-91 win over the Wizards on Friday before beating the Rockets 104-92 the next night. Detroit (5-5) is back at .500 after its worst start in six years.

Richard Hamilton has led the way for the Pistons in their last two victories, totaling 57 points. He had a season-high 30 on 11-of-18 shooting from the field against Houston.

``I'm always in a comfort level, but this is about being aggressive right out of the gate,'' he said. ``I'm going hard, instead of waiting for it.''

Chauncey Billups added 23 points Saturday for Detroit, which will be trying to hold an opponent under 100 points for a season-best third straight game Tuesday.

``This team is still finding its identity,'' Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. ``We felt like we might go through some tough times early, because of our schedule. But it is good to see that the starters are getting into a rhythm, and that we're only a game or two behind where we had hoped to be.''

Philadelphia (4-5) has lost two straight and five of six after beginning the season with three consecutive victories.

The Sixers snapped a season-high three-game losing streak with a 96-90 win over Seattle on Wednesday in the opener of a three-game trip. Philadelphia, though, lost the last two contests, including a 103-97 defeat in overtime to the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night.

Philadelphia opened the game with a 25-9 run, but couldn't overcome the absence of Chris Webber as the Clippers took control by outrebounding the Sixers 49-33.

``This was a game we were supposed to have,'' said Allen Iverson, who had 29 points and nine assists. ``We went up 16 points and we tried to fix something that wasn't broken. We let them back in the game. We had all the momentum going our way, and then we switched up what we were doing.''

Webber, who sat out with stiffness in his back, is having a trying season. He has expressed frustration with his limited role, and is averaging 10.0 points on 38.4 percent shooting in 29.4 minutes - well off his career averages of 21.5 points on 47.9 percent shooting in 37.9 minutes.

``The focus has been on the team all year, and Chris is an important member of the team,'' Sixers president Billy King said. ''(Coach Maurice Cheeks) has been making decisions each game that he and the staff feel will give us the best opportunity to succeed, and I support him in the decision-making process.''

Shavlik Randolph made his second NBA start and first this season in Webber's place Saturday, scoring eight points in 19 minutes.

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