AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Detroit's depth beat the star power
of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Chauncey Billups had 24 points and eight assists to lead a
balanced attack for the Pistons in a 106-96 win over Los Angeles on
Six Detroit players scored in double figures and its bench
outscored Los Angeles' reserves 45-14.
"They've got some of the greatest players in the history of the
game, but I like our by-committee approach," Billups said. "We
can play with anybody. We've got so many players that could be
playing 30 minutes a night on most teams and we've got the best
bench in the league."
Ben Wallace had 12 points and 15 rebounds -- despite bruising his
shoulder and back during the game -- for the Pistons, and Richard
Hamilton scored 14. Detroit reserves Corliss Williamson scored 14,
Mehmet Okur had 13 and Bob Sura scored a season-high 10 points.
"They had a lot of players that really helped them off the
bench," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "That was a key."
The Lakers have been unbeatable at home, with a 5-0 record, and
average on the road, where they fell to 3-3 with their third
straight road loss.
"We're not playing the way we should," Jackson said. "We're
giving up too many points on the road."
Bryant left the locker room quickly after the game and did not
respond to questions before boarding the team bus.
Detroit won a game with 20 lead changes and nine ties because it
made 57 percent of its shots, outrebounded the Lakers 47-26 and
took advantage of O'Neal's fouls.
"We were lucky that he got into foul trouble," Detroit coach
Larry Brown said.
Midway through the first quarter, O'Neal had three fouls, and he
was whistled for a fourth with 4:47 left in the half. He left the
game with five fouls with 1:16 to go in the third quarter, and
stayed on the bench for nearly six minutes.
"I had to be careful because of the fouls and I don't like
playing that way," O'Neal said. "We just made too many mistakes.
We've got to get better on defense."
The Lakers were ahead 72-70 when O'Neal left the game, but when
he came back they were down 85-80. Detroit went ahead 91-82 with
4:22 left, and Los Angeles couldn't get closer than five.
"We won a lot of games the past two years because we were
deeper than most teams we played," Wallace said. "And we're going
to do it again this year."
O'Neal passed George Gervin for 25th on NBA's career
scoring list with 20,709 points. David Robinson is next at 20,790.
... Malone aggravated a hamstring injury, but expects to play
Wednesday at New York. ... C Zeljko Rebraca (back spasms) was put
on Detroit's injured list, and F Darvin Ham was activated. Brown
said Rebraca's absence would create more playing time for Darko
Milicic, the No. 2 pick in the draft, after facing the Lakers.
Milicic did not play Tuesday, a day after the 18-year-old got his