Billups scores season-high 21, nails key 3-pointer


CHICAGO (AP) -- Chauncey Billups lay sprawled on the floor, left
in the dust by Jay Williams' wicked dribbling skills.

But Billups got his revenge, matching his season high with 21
points and drilling a 3-pointer with a minute left to seal the
Detroit Pistons' 86-76 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Thursday

''Chauncey was the difference tonight,'' Detroit coach Rick
Carlisle said. ''His floor decisions, his shot-making, his defense
were the difference.''

Billups got plenty of help. Ben Wallace grabbed 21 rebounds,
Richard Hamilton had a career-high nine assists to go with his 20
points and Corliss Williamson added 14 points. After losing three
in a row, the Pistons have won two consecutive.

''It was a big game,'' said Billups, who scored 10 points in the
fourth quarter alone. ''That team's very feisty.''

But not quite ready for prime time. This was Chicago's first
game on national television this season, and the Bulls responded
with 41-percent shooting and 16 turnovers -- 12 in the first half

Jalen Rose led the Bulls with 15 points, but he was 7-for-23 from the
floor. Marcus Fizer had another strong night off the bench, scoring
13 points on 5-for-9 shooting and grabbing five rebounds.

''I just missed shots,'' Rose said. ''I couldn't knock down
shots I normally make, but Detroit will do that.''

The Bulls made it exciting at the end, though. After leading for
almost the entire game, Detroit was ahead by as much as seven early
in the fourth quarter.

But Chicago's Michigan contingent got hot, rallying the Bulls
and revving up the crowd. Jamal Crawford, who spent a year at
Michigan, got it started with a 3-pointer with 6:57 to play. After
a timeout, Fred Hoiberg forced a turnover and tipped the ball to
Crawford, who took it in for a dunk.

Detroit turned the ball over again on its next possession, and
Crawford scored on a driving layup to put the Bulls up 68-66, their
first lead since early in the first quarter. Fizer, a Detroit-area
native, then scored on a hook shot.

''I felt like the game was in our favor,'' Rose said.

But the Pistons weren't finished. Chicago got a technical for a
defensive three-second violation, and Hamilton made the shot to
start an 8-0 Detroit run.

''After last night, we all got aggressive,'' Hamilton said.
''Chauncey was hitting big shots and I felt I just had to keep
driving the basket and let the refs make a decision while guys like
Ben grind down the offense.''

Rose cut Detroit's lead to 78-74 with 1:32 left with a jumper
from the top of the key -- a play that started with Williams'
dazzling dribble. With Billups guarding him close on the left side,
Williams faked right and then drove left, switching the ball to his
left hand as Billups made a move for it.

Williams breezed by, and Billups fell to the floor as Bulls fans

But Billups quickly quieted them down. After a timeout, he
drilled a 3-pointer from 26 feet, sealing the victory with 1:08 to

''I like to thrive in those types of situations, to have good
looks and have big guys coming at me,'' Billups said. ''It really
took some air out of them and put some air in us.''

Game notes
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was at the game, checking up on
former Blue Devils star Jay Williams. ''It's good to have him
here,'' Williams said. ''I'll see him after the game, talk to him
about things are going, see how everybody's doing.'' Krzyzewski, in
town for a charity function earlier in the day, watched the game
from a luxury box with Williams' mother, Althea. ... Detroit is
14-2 against the Bulls since 1998, and has won eight of the last
nine in the United Center. ... Wallace has 20-plus rebounds in five
games, and he's led the Pistons in rebounding in every game this
season. ... Bulls forward Eddie Robinson missed another game with a sore
left knee, but coach Bill Cartwright said Robinson won't have to go
on the injured list. ''We talked about it, but we felt he was close
enough to not do that,'' Cartwright said.