Philadelphia 96, Detroit 75 (F)

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., March 20 (AP)-- Normally, the Detroit Pistons struggle when Chauncey Billups isn't around to run the offense.

Against the Philadelphia 76ers, they don't even blink an eye.

Tayshaun Prince scored 30 points Tuesday night, giving him 88 in three games against Philadelphia this season, and Detroit picked up a 96-75 victory.

"It's all about matchups. Tay is so athletic and so long that he gives Andre Iguodala problems, and when they bring in (Kyle) Korver, we make a conscious effort to get Tay the ball,'' Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. "We knew coming in that we would be running a lot of our offense through Tay tonight.''

Prince has four 30-point games this season, and two have come against Philadelphia, including a career-high 33 on Jan. 9.

"I got off to a good start, and when I do that, I get into a rhythm,'' he said.

Philadelphia suffered another lopsided loss in its first game since the worst home defeat in franchise history, 124-74 to Houston on Sunday.

"Obviously, Detroit is a good basketball team, as is Houston,'' Philadelphia coach Maurice Cheeks said. "But I'm a little angry, because before the Houston game, we were in every game. We haven't come out the way we had been playing.''

The Pistons ended a three-game losing streak at home.

"We jumped out well,'' Saunders said. "We were a little too spotty in the first half, but we got into our swarm mode in the third and fourth quarters.''

The game was the first between the teams since Chris Webber signed with the Pistons after being waived by Philadelphia in January. Webber, who was limited by a chest cold, finished with nine points and seven rebounds in 27 minutes as Detroit improved to 22-7 since he moved into the starting lineup.

"There wasn't any extra juice tonight,'' Webber said. "It was good seeing the guys again. I'm still friends with those guys. It was just good to get a win.''

Richard Hamilton added 18 points for the Pistons, including a perfect 8-for-8 from the free-throw line. Hamilton went 2-for-7 from the line in the fourth quarter of Sunday's loss to Dallas.

Green led Philly with 20 points, while Andre Miller added 16. Philadelphia, which trailed by as many as 24, was just 1-of-11 on 3-pointers.

"I think we still have some fight, but we didn't respond tonight,'' Green said. "We have to develop the mentality that we haven't had in the last two games.''

The Pistons shot 59.5 percent in the first half, but led only 49-41 thanks to nine turnovers and Philadelphia's nine offensive rebounds. Green, who attended the University of Detroit, had 16 points in the half, while Prince had 15 for Detroit.

Philadelphia kept the game close through the third, trailing 70-60 at quarter's end, but Detroit broke the game open in the final period.

Rasheed Wallace's back-to-back 3-pointers gave the Pistons a 82-60 lead, and Detroit cruised to the victory. Prince also had four points in the 14-0 run to start the fourth.

"It makes you a little upset when you know you haven't played as hard as the other team,'' Green said. "Tonight, we were getting beat to loose balls and rebounds, and you don't want that to happen.''

Notes: Billups sat out his second game with a groin injury, and isn't sure if he'll be ready for Detroit's games on Thursday and Friday. "If they would let me stand still and shoot 17-foot jumpers, I'd be good to go,'' Billups said. "But I can't move.'' ... Wallace, who played for Cheeks in Portland, embraced his former coach before the tipoff. Webber exchanged enthusiastic greetings with his former teammates, but stayed away from the Philadelphia bench. ... Philadelphia rookie Rodney Carney had both benches laughing after a spectacular miss at the end of the first half. Carney, alone on a fastbreak, tried a hard one-handed dunk only to see the ball hit the back rim and sail back past the halfcourt line.


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