MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- After looking tired at the start, the
Detroit Pistons regrouped and finished strong.
Billups, who had a season-high 33 points, scored 14 in the third
as the Pistons put the game out of reach.
"We started off flat and came out in the second half and picked
it up," forward Ben Wallace said. "If we want to be a good team,
we've got to play good in back-to-back games."
Billups, who had 25 points in the second half, not only sparked
Detroit's big run but also thwarted Memphis' comeback attempts with
clutch baskets in the final quarter.
The Pistons won their third straight and ended Memphis'
three-game winning streak, which included victories over the Lakers
"This was a game that presented a great challenge for us,"
Billups said. "(Memphis) has been playing great, and they are
deep. A lot of big teams they had already beaten on this court."
Detroit opened the second half with a 19-3 run, including 15
straight points, to erase Memphis' lead.
Billups scored 10 in the stretch. Meanwhile, Memphis missed 13
of its first 14 shots in the half as Detroit built the lead to
"We just came out with a lot of energy in the third quarter,"
Detroit coach Larry Brown said. "You had a great win against the
Lakers, and you don't want to come in here and not have your best
The Grizzlies tried to come back midway through the fourth
period as Shane Battier scored seven consecutive points to cut the
lead to 86-83 with 4:36 to play. But another 3-pointer by Billups
and Wallace's tip-in ended the run and Memphis' chances.
"Chauncey made some big plays," Memphis guard Earl Watson
said. "He's probably the best point guard we've faced so far."
Billups also had five assists and seven rebounds.
"Everybody keeps blowing smoke on all these other point guards
in the league," Memphis coach Hubie Brown said. "(Billups) is
playing as good, if not better, than anybody else."
The Grizzlies benefited from 53 percent shooting in the first
half to take a 52-49 lead at the break. Miller had 14 in the half
to lead Memphis.
Detroit, which trailed by 10 in the opening half, used the
third-quarter rally to build a 77-67 lead heading into the final
"We didn't look like the team we've been the last two weeks,"
The Pistons are 6-1 this season when Billups scores 20 or
more. ... The Pistons lead the series 12-3 and have won five
straight. Memphis has not beaten Detroit since moving from
Vancouver. ... The Pistons' reserves, who outscored the Lakers'
bench 45-14 in Tuesday night's 106-96 win, didn't fare as well
against Memphis. The Grizzlies' bench outscored Detroit's backups
48-18. ... Billups' 33 points were three short of his career high
set with Minnesota against Dallas. ... Memphis point guard Jason
Williams, who has averaged only 1.8 turnovers this season, had a
season-high five miscues.