AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- The Detroit Pistons love to let it
fly from long range.
It was the 15th anniversary of Detroit's first game at the
Palace of Auburn Hills, when the Pistons beat Charlotte 94-85
without attempting a single 3-pointer.
"No 3-pointers? There's no way that would happen today -- not
with the guys on this team," said Detroit's Tayshaun Prince, who
made all four of his 3-point attempts. "When we see daylight,
we're letting it go."
Billups scored 11 points in the fourth quarter, including three
3-pointers, and finished as one of five Pistons in double figures.
"I know that Coach (Larry) Brown isn't big on us shooting 3s
all the time, but that's a big part of this team," Billups said.
"We have a lot of guys who can shoot the ball and a lot of ways to
get the open shots."
"I've been on Rip about rebounding, and he did some great
things out there tonight," Brown said. "A lot of nights, a guy
that goes 7-for-23 doesn't really contribute, but Rip gave us
defense and gave us rebounding and was a key to the victory."
"It was a tough loss tonight," Pierce said. "We really played
well, and we knew what we needed to do to win the game, but we just
didn't get it done. There's a lot of positives in this team -- we
just have to clean up a few things."
Detroit trailed by nine at the half but got back into the game
with a seven-point run early in the third, capped by Prince's
Raef LaFrentz slowed the rally by scoring the next four points,
but the Pistons responded with a 13-2 run that included nine points
from Billups and Hamilton and led 73-70 at the end of the quarter.
Four straight Pistons turnovers allowed Boston to take a 76-73
lead, but Detroit came back again. This time, Billups hit a pair of
3-pointers as part of a 10-2 run that made it 83-78 with 7:11 left.
Boston's final attempt at a rally was thwarted by 3-pointers
from Prince and Billups that made it 96-88 in the final minute.
Boston led 54-45 at halftime behind 12 points each from Baker
and Pierce. The Celtics shot 57.5 percent and outrebounded Detroit
21-16. In the second half, Boston hit just 35.3 percent of its
shots and trailed 29-19 on the boards.
"They just mauled us on the glass -- it was a total breakdown on
our part on the rebounding aspect of the game," Boston coach Jim
O'Brien said. "We just got beaten to the ball tonight and
outhustled and that's why we lost the basketball game."
The Pistons got 18 points from Adrian Dantley and
double-doubles from Rick Mahorn and Bill Laimbeer in the first game
at the Palace and went on to win the NBA title. ... Detroit's
Zeljko Rebraca (flu) and Boston's Eric Williams (ankle) did not
suit up. ... Detroit missed nine of 23 free throws in the first
half. ... Pierce and Wallace got technicals in the fourth quarter.
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Dwight Howard is expected to request a starting salary of $24 million per year when he starts his free agency meetings with Atlanta and Boston, according to a source.
Backup point guard Matthew Dellavedova received a qualifying offer from the Cavaliers on Thursday, which makes him a restricted free agent.