TORONTO (AP) -- Lenny Wilkens set a record he didn't care for and
Vince Carter didn't know about.
Wilkens tied the NBA record for most career coaching losses,
going down to defeat for the 1,106th time Tuesday night as Richard
Hamilton scored 20 points and Ben Wallace had 20 rebounds to lead
the Detroit Pistons past the Toronto Raptors 92-85.
Wilkens, already the winningest coach in league history with
1,291 victories, tied Bill Fitch's record. Wilkens is in his 30th
year as an NBA coach, whereas Fitch coached for 25 seasons.
"If you coach long enough that's what happens. It's not really
a big thing," said a somber Wilkens, who clearly didn't want to
talk about it. "I've been around a long time and have been
successful, and with success that kind of thing comes."
Wilkens, who has one year remaining on his contract but whose
coaching future is nonetheless in jeopardy, will break the record
if the Raptors lose to the Pistons in a rematch Wednesday night.
"I didn't really know about it," said Carter, who had 20
points. "I don't even know what the record is."
The Raptors were in danger of giving Wilkens the dubious feat in
embarrassing fashion after falling behind by 22 in the third
quarter, but they responded with a strong effort down the stretch.
Chauncey Billups scored 15 points, including six free throws in
the final minute, to help Detroit win its fifth straight over
Toronto. Former Raptor Corliss Williamson added 19 points off the
"This is like a mini-rivalry," Carter said. "It's unfortunate
that we won't be able to play in the playoffs. but I think you saw
effort that we wouldn't quit."
The Raptors closed to 86-83 with less than a minute remaining.
But Jelani McCoy's pass to Michael Bradley resulted in a turnover,
and Billups made two free throws to make it 88-83 with 18.3 left.
Carter made a layup to cut the deficit to three, but Billups
made four more free throws to close out the game.
"They made a frantic comeback," Pistons coach Rick Carlisle
said. "I give Toronto credit. They played hard the whole game and
they made a fierce run at us."
Toronto's comeback was keyed by Carter and Rafer Alston, who
each hit 3-pointers midway through the fourth. Alston then
connected with Carter for an alley-oop to make it 82-71 with 5:56
The victory gave Detroit a 1½ game lead over New Jersey atop the
Eastern Conference. The Pistons have won six of their past eight
games and 10 of 13.
"We have to refocus and dig down a little deeper and go out
there and take care of it," said Wallace, who also had three
blocks. "We are not going to dwell on this game too much. It was
an ugly win, but we got the win."
Toronto C Antonio Davis (strained groin) did not dress for
the second straight game. Michael Bradley started in his place and
finished with 10 points and 14 rebounds ... Detroit is 13-2 in
Toronto, its best road record against any team ... Detroit G Chucky
Atkins (bruised knee) did not play, while teammate Mehmet Okur left
midway through the second quarter when he came down on his ankle
after scoring on a layup. ... The Raptors are ranked seventh in the
NBA in attendance (19,060) despite their miserable season.