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Hornets lose fourth straight road game

12/29/2003

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Chauncey Billups enjoyed Monday
evening tremendously. He could have done without the rest of the
day.

Fighting the flu, Billups scored 31 points to lead the Detroit
Pistons to a 108-99 victory over the New Orleans Hornets.

"I love playing this well, but I hope I don't have to feel this
miserable every time," Billups said. "I felt horrible this
morning, but I knew this was a big game for us and I didn't want to
miss it. So I ate a little soup and felt a little better."

The Hornets overcame a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter
but couldn't take the lead. The game was tied at 87 with 7:56 to
play before Detroit went on an 8-3 run to take control.

"We had to play uphill a lot tonight," New Orleans coach Tim
Floyd said. "We did a better job in the second half and ended up
catching them because of it, but then we just let it slip away
again near the end."

Detroit got 13 points and seven assists from Richard Hamilton in
posting its highest point total of the season.

The Pistons reached 100 points for the first time since beating
the Lakers 106-96 on Nov. 18.

"We showed a lot of spunk tonight, and we got contributions
from a lot of guys," Pistons coach Larry Brown said. "When they
got back into the game, we were able to right the ship and make
some big plays."

Thanks to a missed free throw by Jamaal Magloire with 21 seconds
left, the Pistons still have a chance to set an NBA record for
defense. They have not allowed 100 points in any of their 31 games
this season, leaving them two short of the mark set by the Knicks
in 2000-01.

"I don't even think we are a very good defensive team yet,"
Brown said. "We've made some progress, but we still have to harp
on the things we need to fix."

David Wesley had 22 points and Baron Davis added 19 for the
Hornets, who lost their fourth straight road game.

"Our commitment to defense just hasn't been there," Wesley
said. "When you are playing from behind, everything has to be
perfect if you want to come back to win. It's hard to play
perfect."

Detroit led 50-36 with less than four minutes to play in the
first half before the Hornets pulled to 52-48 at intermission.
Wesley scored five points in the 12-2 run.

The Pistons opened the third with a 9-1 surge, including five
points from Tayshaun Prince. New Orleans cut the margin to 63-57,
but Detroit answered with eight straight points to go back ahead by
14.

Detroit's advantage was 83-71 at the start of the fourth, but
Wesley and Darrell Armstrong scored 13 points in the first four
minutes to help New Orleans tie the game at 85. Ten of the points
came off five Pistons turnovers.

Game notes
Wallace left the game late in the first quarter after
aggravating an ankle problem, but returned before halftime. ...
Both teams shot 47.7 percent (21-for-44) in the first half. ... New
Orleans waived forward James Lang off the injured list before the
game. ... Detroit placed Tremaine Fowlkes (back spasms) on the
injured list and activated Darvin Ham. ... Davis picked up a
third-quarter technical foul for arguing a call.