They only cared about picking up one of their most important
victories of the season.
Chauncey Billups scored 12 of his 29 points in the fourth
quarter and overtime to help the slumping Pistons end a four-game
losing streak with a 111-102 victory Wednesday night.
The win moved Detroit into a tie with New Jersey atop the
Eastern Conference standings after the Nets lost to Atlanta.
"We are in a situation where we just need wins -- period,''
Billups said. "We got one tonight and now we need to go to New
Orleans and get one down there.
"Nothing else matters right now. We just need wins.''
Billups' big finish came after Jamal Crawford burned him for 15
points in the first half.
"He got going on me a little bit, so I knew I needed to step it
up and get more aggressive offensively,'' Billups said. "He's a
tough guy to guard -- he's very slippery.''
The Pistons blew a 12-point fourth-quarter lead and let Chicago
force overtime, but scored the first six points of the extra
"This is a good win for us, because we needed it to stay in
contention for the top spot in the East,'' Cliff Robinson said.
"We fought off their surge and we made some plays. Now we have to
build on this.''
Chicago lost its 10th straight on the road and is 3-37 away from
the United Center.
"We play so many close games on the road, and we can never
finish them,'' Crawford said. "We've got one of the best home
records in the East -- we can beat anyone at home. If we could have
just won 10 or 15 road games, we'd be in the playoffs.''
Detroit played without Ben Wallace, who missed his second game
in a row after injuring his knee Sunday. Chicago was missing Tyson
Chandler, who left Tuesday's game against Indiana with esophagitis
and did not travel to Detroit.
Robinson scored 24 points for Detroit, while Mehmet Okur had 19
and Richard Hamilton 17. Hamilton also matched a career high with
"We gave ourselves a chance at the game, but we just didn't do
the job in overtime,'' Bulls coach Bill Cartwright said. "We
rehearse those situations every day, but we just don't seem
prepared when we get late into games.''
The Pistons led 53-47 at the half behind 14 points from Okur.
The teams traded baskets for the first half of the third period,
but the Pistons took a 72-59 lead with an 11-3 run late in the
period. Billups had nine of the points on three 3-pointers.
Detroit led 79-67 at period's end, but Chicago started the
fourth quarter with a 10-2 surge capped by Curry's three dunks.
Robinson ended the streak with a 3-pointer, but Rose hit a 3 and
Curry added a three-point play to tie the game at 83 with 6:27
The teams traded the lead until Rose's free throw tied the game
at 95 with 1:14 left. Billups and Jon Barry missed for Detroit, but
the Bulls turned over the ball to give the Pistons a chance to win
at the buzzer.
Billups missed a short jumper, and Rose a 3-point attempt at the
"I had a great look at the shot, but it just didn't go down,''
Rose said. "That would have been too much of a dream ending if I
had hit that shot. It hasn't been the kind of season for those
Game notes Pistons guard Chucky Atkins returned after missing 17 of
the previous 19 games with a bruised knee. He scored three points
in 11 minutes. ... The Bulls scored five points in the final 1.5
seconds of the first quarter, cutting an 11-point deficit to six.
After Crawford's layup, Detroit threw away the inbounds pass and
Jay Williams hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer. ... The Pistons are
18-2 against the Bulls since Michael Jordan left Chicago. ... The
Pistons are 7-0 in overtime, while the Bulls are 1-8. ... Wallace
said after the game that he doesn't know when he will be able to
return. The Pistons are hoping to have him back in time for the