Detroit 105, Philadelphia 88 (F)

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., April 23 (AP) -- The Detroit Pistons looked a lot like the team that reached the last five Eastern Conference finals.

Rasheed Wallace scored 11 of his 16 points in the first quarter and had plenty of help at both ends of the court in a 105-88 series-evening victory over the Philadelphia Sixers in Game 2 on Wednesday night.

"They were clicking everywhere,'' Philadelphia's Andre Iguodala said. "Those are the Detroit Pistons that we expect to see.''

The Sixers took advantage of Detroit's lackluster focus in the first-round opener, rallying from a 15-point deficit in the third quarter for a 90-86 win.

"We were disappointed, upset and mad about what happened,'' Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. "Our players responded.''

Wallace led the way with another good game against his hometown Sixers.

Unlike the series opener, a few Detroit starters helped him out.

Wallace was one of four Pistons scoring in double figures as they took a 17-point halftime lead, while the 76ers had only Andre Miller, who scored 11 of his 14 points in the first half.

Detroit refused to let the young Sixers come back again.

The Pistons played with a sense of urgency, swarming Philadelphia on defense and relentlessly going after offensive rebounds for extra scoring opportunities.

"When they did miss, they beat us to the boards and got second-chance points,'' Iguodala said.

Chauncey Billups made a 3-pointer early in the third - his first field goal - and made another from beyond the arc later in the quarter to put Detroit ahead 73-47.

The Pistons didn't have any trouble holding onto the lead.

"We were focused, really locked in on what we had to do,'' Billups said. "We got off to a quick start and we never let up. All five starters played good, and we all shot the ball well. That makes us tough.

"Then the kids came in and played great.''

Game 3 is Friday night in Philadelphia.

"We've got to be able to respond,'' Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said.

In Sunday's loss, Wallace had 24 points, nine rebounds and seven blocks.

His fellow starters combined to make less than one-third of their shots and missed key free throws.

Wallace and Co. put together a balanced attack in Game 2.

Each of the starters shot at least 50 percent and four had 16 points through three quarters, then all but Richard Hamilton rested in the fourth.

Hamilton finished with 20 points and seven assists, Tayshaun Prince and Antonio McDyess both added 16 points and rookie Rodney Stuckey had 12 after being held scoreless in his playoff debut.

"It wasn't just the one guy tonight, it was several guys in the first half,'' Cheeks said. "Then, Chauncey made shots in the second half he normally makes.''

Philadelphia reserves Louis Williams (17), Reggie Evans (13) and Rodney Carney (11) all scored career playoff highs.

Iguodala got off to another rough start. Unlike Game 1, he didn't bounce back because of Prince's defense.

Iguodala was scoreless in the first half on 0-for-7 shooting and finished with four points after averaging 20 in the regular season and scoring 16 Sunday.

"Tay did a good job, preventing him from getting quick looks and bursts toward the basket,'' Saunders said. "And, he contested every one of his shots.''

Miller was the only Philadelphia starter who played well when the game was close, but Detroit didn't make it easy on the point guard by pressing him all over the court.

"Defensively, they were more aggressive guarding us up the floor,'' Cheeks said. "And, they were more aggressive against us on screen and rolls.''

Samuel Dalembert of the Sixers had three points - giving him eight in the series - Thaddeus Young scored 11 and Willie Green added six points after setting a career playoff high with 17 in the opener.

Philadelphia's reservers outscored its starters 50-38.

Notes: There was a moment of silence before the game for longtime NBA referee Darell Garretson, who died Monday. ... Perhaps more than any coach in the league, Cheeks engaged the regular hecklers that sit behind the visitors' bench at The Palace. When one fan was shouting 40-42 - referring to the team's regular season record - Cheeks smiled and replied, "We're 1-0.'' ... Hamilton was called for a technical foul in the third quarter.


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