AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- For one quarter Friday night, the
Detroit Pistons were everything Larry Brown could want.
Tayshaun Prince has made an excellent Pistons starter.
It didn't last, but that didn't matter.
Detroit led 18-4 in the opening minutes and ended up hanging on
for its fourth consecutive victory, 105-99 over the Milwaukee
"The ball movement we had early on was tremendous," Brown
said. "We tried to keep that up all game, but give Milwaukee
credit, they got contributions from a lot of guys and they fought
Detroit shot 64 percent en route to a 34-23 lead after one
quarter, getting at least four points from all five starters. The
Pistons finished the period with 10 assists and only one turnover.
"We've been focusing on getting off to a good start, and that
was beautiful," Chauncey Billups said. "That's the best way to play basketball."
Milwaukee coach Terry Porter was frustrated with his team's
continuing early struggles.
"Our starters need to come out and give us a lift so that we
don't keep getting down early," he said. "I have to give our
bench guys a great deal of credit for really getting us back in the
game and even giving us a chance to win."
Billups led Detroit with 27 points and Richard Hamilton added 24, but the player of the game might have been reserve Mehmet Okur, who had 12 points and a career-best 18 rebounds. Ben Wallace added 10 points and 15 boards.
"This was my dream come true. I had more rebounds than Ben,"
Okur said. "I just felt great tonight. I've been pushing myself
very hard, and I feel like I brought us a lot of energy tonight."
Michael Redd led Milwaukee with 28 points. Former Piston Damon Jones added 15.
"Coming back from the deficit tonight was a real positive, but
we have to understand that the final outcome is what goes in the
standings," Jones said. "We would have been fine if we had stayed
close instead of going down by 15."
After Detroit's quick start, Milwaukee got as close as 38-30 in
the second quarter, but the Pistons had the lead back to 60-45 at
Redd hit two 3-pointers to start the third period, cutting the
margin to 11, then had four points in a 16-5 run that pulled the
Bucks to 74-69 late in the quarter.
Detroit's lead was 85-78 after three periods, and the teams
traded baskets for the first seven minutes of the fourth.
A three-point play by Redd keyed a 7-0 run that pulled Milwaukee
to 96-95 with 3:59 to go.
But Hamilton hit consecutive jumpers to increase the lead to
five points, and Detroit held on.
"That finish wasn't by design, that's for sure," Billups said.
"But, as good as we played early, the best thing about tonight is
the way we hung on when they made a run at us late. Even when they
got it to one point, we stayed calm and did the right things."
Game Notes: Okur tied a team record with six offensive rebounds in the
second quarter. .... Detroit rookie Darko Milicic made his home debut in the first half. He went 0-2 with a foul and a turnover in
five minutes. ... Milwaukee's Brian Skinner had arthroscopic knee surgery on Thursday and is expected to miss six weeks.