AUBURN HILLS, Mich.(AP) Allen Iverson and Tayshaun Prince stepped up for the short-handed Detroit Pistons.
Iverson scored 19 points, and Prince added 16 to help the Pistons win their fifth straight game, 83-75 over the New Jersey Nets on Wednesday.
"When any team in the league loses three of their top six guys, things are going to change for them,'' Pistons coach Michael Curry said. "Luckily, a lot of other guys stepped up.''
Detroit played without Rip Hamilton (groin) and Antonio McDyess (ribs), and lost Rasheed Wallace to a first-half foot injury, but still held the Nets to a season low.
"No one was going to come in and be Sheed, Rip or Dice, but we have guys who will come off the bench and help us in their own way,'' Iverson said. "We just had to utilize that, even when it meant playing a totally different style.''
The Nets lost some of their advantage when Vince Carter was ejected after for arguing a second-quarter call with referee Derrick Stafford.
Carter argued a call on an out-of-bounds play, then appeared to get extremely angry after receiving a technical. He was quickly given a second technical and had to be restrained by coach Lawrence Frank and teammate Devin Harris.
"Vince thought the ball went off Allen (Iverson) and said something, and that's when he got a technical,'' Frank said. "That's when the official said something that Vince didn't think was appropriate and he reacted. We felt it was unjust that he got ejected.''
Carter did not talk to the media after the game, and crew chief Dan Crawford rejected a request for a comment from Stafford about anything he might have said to Carter.
"The ejection was too quick,'' Harris said. "Something inappropriate was said, allegedly, but I didn't hear it.''
Rookie Brook Lopez led New Jersey with 23 points and 12 rebounds, but the Nets weren't able to overcome an 11-point second quarter.
"I thought we lost a lot of rhythm in the second, especially when Vince got thrown out,'' Harris said. "Still, this is a good measuring stick - this is a team that has been to the Eastern Conference finals a bunch of years in a row, and we were right there with them, even without Vince.''
Harris finished with 19 points - half as many as he had in the Nets' 103-96 win over Detroit on Nov. 7 - Iverson's first game as a Piston.
"I thought we did a great job against him - especially Arron Afflalo and (Rodney) Stuckey,'' Curry said. "He's tough to trap, but we really went after him.''
Harris' three-point play made it 75-70 with 3:45 left, and Yi Jianlian followed with a hook to make it a three-point game.
Iverson, though, hit a pair of high-arcing jumpers and Detroit held on.
"It was a grind, especially when they play that much zone,'' Iverson said. "It can be a boring game when you play against that, but we kept working and we did some good things against it.''
Notes: Harris shot 24 free throws in his 38-point game against Detroit. He made 10 on Wednesday. ... McDyess was active for the game, but decided in pregame warmups that he couldn't play because of bruised ribs. ... Curry said he wasn't sure of Wallace or McDyess's status for Friday's game against the Kings, but Hamilton is not expected to play.