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Detroit snaps 5-game road losing streak

HOUSTON (AP) -- Larry Brown was briefly reminded of better days
Tuesday night, a time not so long ago when the Detroit Pistons were
the toast of the NBA because of their hustle, teamwork and devotion
to defense.

Antonio McDyess had 19 points and 10 rebounds and Richard
Hamilton also scored 19, helping the Pistons snap a five-game road
losing streak with a 93-72 win over the reeling Houston Rockets.

"That's the way we used to play," Brown said. "We set the
tone. That's probably our best game all year."

McDyess scored the Pistons' first 12 points in the opening 4½
minutes as Detroit jumped out to an early lead and never trailed,
sending the Rockets to their fourth consecutive loss and sixth in
the past eight games.

The Pistons hadn't won away from home since Nov. 8 against the
Los Angeles Clippers but got little resistance from the Rockets.
Houston dropped its fifth straight at the Toyota Center.

McDyess filled in admirably for All-Star center Ben Wallace, who
completed a six-game suspension for his role in the Nov. 19 brawl
with the Indiana Pacers. The Pistons went 3-3 without him, and they
certainly didn't need him against the punchless Rockets.

"Dice came to school and got us off to a big jump start and we
never looked back," Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace said. "He
just did what he does. He was outstanding."

Ben Wallace, who's been watching games from his suburban Detroit
home during the suspension, will return Friday at San Antonio. He
will lose $400,000 of the $6 million he was due to make this
season.

"He should be fresh and he should be light. Light in the
pockets," cracked Detroit guard Chauncey Billups, who had 18
points, eight assists and five rebounds.

Things weren't nearly as lighthearted in the Rockets' somber
locker room.

Houston scored a season-low 72 points, committed 19 turnovers
and attempted 16 fewer field goals. The Rockets' 6-10 start is the
team's worst since 1999-2000, a major disappointment for a team
that was expected to compete for a championship this season.

"We're losing and it seems like it's the same type of effort
every night," said All-Star guard Tracy McGrady, who was acquired
in a blockbuster summer trade from Orlando to move Houston closer
to the crown.

"It's got to change because right now it's pretty
embarrassing," McGrady said. "It's tough for us to get that type
of effort at home in front of our fans."

In the waning seconds, a group of fans sitting behind the
Houston bench began chanting "Fire Gundy!" Rockets coach Jeff Van
Gundy looked at the vocal bunch, nodded at them and continued
frowning at his team's miserable performance.

The Rockets were booed off the court when the game ended.

"I think it starts with me," Van Gundy said. "I'm going to
get a group that looks like they really want to play. I just
haven't provided that this year, and for that, I'm very apologetic
to our fans."

Detroit's rout started with McDyess, who averaged 13 points and
10 rebounds after moving into the starting lineup during Wallace's
suspension.

McDyess continually shook loose of Rockets center Yao Ming,
scoring on an assortment on putbacks and jumpers in the opening
minutes. His two-handed dunk with 7:39 left in the first quarter
gave Detroit a 12-4 lead and touched off the first set of boos from
the restless crowd of 15,330.

"I used my quickness to cut to the basket or take quick
shots," McDyess said. "I haven't had an opportunity like this in
a long time. I wanted to take advantage of it."

Hamilton took over from there, hitting a jumper that gave the
Pistons a 16-point lead midway through the second quarter.

The Rockets briefly fought their way back, closing to 54-51 on
Yao's basket with 4:17 in the third. But the Pistons quickly pulled
away, and Hamilton's free throws at the end of the quarter put
Detroit back up by double digits.

Jim Jackson led Houston with 21 points and eight rebounds, Yao
added 19 and McGrady had 16.

Game notes
Detroit won in Houston for only the second time in 12
years. ... The Rockets' four-game losing streak is their longest
since a seven-game skid from Nov. 27-Dec. 20, 2001. ... Houston
forward Juwan Howard, one of the key pieces of the offseason trade
with Orlando, didn't get off the bench for a second straight game.
... The Rockets haven't led in a game in almost 129 minutes, since
early in the second quarter of last Friday's game against Utah.