AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- The Detroit Pistons' reserves bailed out the starters.
Zeljko Rebraca scored a season-high 21 points, and Detroit got
58 points from its backups and rallied from an early 15-point
deficit to beat the New Jersey Nets 101-91 Sunday.
Corliss Williamson scored 17 points for Detroit in a matchup of
last season's Eastern Conference division champs.
"I think our bench was the difference tonight,'' Pistons coach
Rick Carlisle said. "They really stepped up and let us fight our
way back into the game. Z made a major impact with his scoring and
Corliss was consistent, as always.''
The Pistons starters were grateful for the performance of the
"That's what our bench does for us,'' Ben Wallace said. "They
give us a chance to win every night by scoring so many points. But
we can't put it all on them -- we've got to play better than we did
in the first quarter.''
Chauncey Billups added 16 points and Richard Hamilton 15 for
Detroit, which has won 15 times in New Jersey's last 16 visits to
the Palace. The Pistons are 8-1 overall against the Nets during the
last three seasons.
"I can't explain the record -- this is my first year here,''
Hamilton said. "I just know that we got off to a bad start and
still won the game -- that's the luxury of having a great bench.''
Detroit was playing its fourth game since Wednesday.
"It's a tremendous accomplishment to win four games in five
nights,'' Jon Barry said. "We were lucky enough to have three of
them at home, but that's tough to do no matter who you play and
where you play them.''
New Jersey had its season-best winning streak snapped at five
"It wasn't Rip Hamilton killing us and Ben Wallace getting 20
rebounds,'' said Nets coach Byron Scott. "Their bench just
dominated us. Jon Barry had 12 points and Corliss Williamson and
Rebraca just killed us.''
Lucious Harris led the Nets with 18 points, while Jason Kidd
added 15 points and eight assists, but New Jersey hurt itself by
missing 13 free throws.
"We shot about the same number of attempts as them, but they
made 10 more than we did and we lost by 10,'' Richard Jefferson
said. "I'm not saying that's the only difference, but we
definitely didn't help our situation.''
New Jersey got off to the quick start, leading 24-9 in the first
quarter, but couldn't maintain the momentum.
The Pistons put together an 18-6 run in the second, led by eight
points by Rebraca and six from Chucky Atkins. Rebraca finished with
16 points in the quarter, helping Detroit close within 49-48 at
"This was a good night for me, because I was able to get a
presence inside,'' said Rebraca, who went 5-for-6 from the floor
and 11-for-12 from the line. "The guys kept throwing me the ball,
and I was able to make shots and get to the line.''
Detroit seized control with a 10-0 run in the third quarter to
take a 76-66 lead into the final period. Hamilton scored 11 in the
period, and Billups added seven.
The Nets squandered a chance to get back into the game, missing
four of six free-throw attempts in the first two minutes of the
fourth. New Jersey never got closer than eight points the rest of
"We had a great start and we just couldn't keep it up,'' Kenyon
Martin said. "They had the 10 straight in the third, and we had a
chance to respond and missed the free throws. That was the
difference right there.''
Williamson, who scored four points through the first three
quarters, scored 13 in the fourth.
Game notes Martin had the night's most spectacular play, a two-handed
dunk over the 7-foot Rebraca. ... Scott and Jefferson picked up
technicals for arguing calls. ... Detroit had a season-worst 13
points in the first quarter and a season-best 35 in the second. ...
Cliff Robinson was called for a flagrant foul for pulling down Kidd
on a third-quarter drive. ... The Nets committed 32 fouls and the
Pistons had 31. The league high this season is 34. ... New Jersey
got 29 points from its reserves.