The Clippers led until the final moments of the third quarter
before Detroit pulled away for their 10th win in 12 games, 108-99
"We gave them life and let them think they were a better team
than they really are," said Chauncey Billups, who scored 12 of his
21 points in the fourth quarter. "The good thing is that we got
the win. We lost a lot of games like this early in the season."
Los Angeles lost their ninth straight and 17th in 19 tries.
Elton Brand, who led Los Angeles with 27 points and 10 rebounds,
was impressed with his team's effort. The Clippers were missing
Marko Jaric (foot) and Quentin Richardson (back), then lost Corey
Maggette to a strained hamstring in the first half.
"We're short-handed right now, but you have to be proud of the
way these young guys came and played," Brand said. "We're playing
as hard as we can with the unit we have."
Detroit, which played without Rasheed Wallace (back) for the
second game in a row, got 28 points and a season-high five steals
from Richard Hamilton, but he still got some criticism from Larry
"He didn't really guard anyone," the Pistons coach said. "He
did some good things, but he didn't do the job I want to see
The first half was unusually high-scoring for a Pistons game --
both teams shot at least 50 percent and went into intermission tied
The Clippers kept up the pressure in the third, scoring 25
points on 11-of-20 shooting to lead by four late in the quarter.
Detroit, though, took control with a 13-0 run that spanned the
third and fourth periods and gave them a 86-77 lead with 10 minutes
left. Hamilton had five points in the run and Williamson added
Los Angeles got as close as 91-86 but Billups had nine points in
a 12-2 run to put the game away.
Ben Wallace missed six of eight free throws in the fourth
quarter, helping the Clippers stay within striking distance, but
they couldn't hit enough shots for a comeback.
Detroit finished the game with a season-high 31 points off
turnovers, thanks to 18 steals.
"We just turned the ball over too many times in the second
half, and they won the game," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said.
"Once we lost Corey, we were playing on fumes at the end. We
played with every ounce of energy we had."
Detroit's reserves had 27 points, 12 assists and six steals.
Clippers center Chris Kaman, who played his college
basketball at Central Michigan, had a large cheering section for
his first NBA game in his home state. ... Darko Milicic played the
final 1:11, but did not score. ... Brand, Ben Wallace and Billups
all picked up technical fouls for arguing calls. ... A fan threw an
octopus on the floor in the fourth quarter -- a longtime tradition
at Detroit Red Wings playoff games. ... The game was the 14th
straight sellout at the Palace of Auburn Hills, the longest streak
since the first 245 games held in the building, from 1988-1993.