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Pistons blow 12-point lead, but Rip saves the day

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Ben Wallace made the most of a rough
Wednesday.

On the day his brother was charged with assault stemming from
the Nov. 19 melee between Detroit fans and Indiana Pacers players,
Wallace overcame a slow start to lead the Detroit Pistons to a
90-86 overtime win over the slumping Toronto Raptors.

Wallace had nine of Detroit's 11 fourth-quarter points, and had
nine rebounds after the third quarter.

"He had a tough day today with what happened with his brother,
but he was huge down the stretch," Pistons coach Larry Brown said.
"He made every defensive play and every hustle play when we needed
them."

Wallace didn't want to talk about his brother's situation, but
his teammates felt he used the game as an escape.

"This is our safe haven," Chauncey Billups said. "He went out
there and he scored, he got every rebound and he played tough D."

Wallace missed three of his first four shots, including two
airballs, before rallying late.

"We just got back from a long trip, and I felt like I had hands
of stone out there," he said. "But the way we played at the end
is how we won a championship last year, and that has to start with
me."

The Raptors lost their fifth in a row, and coming close against
the defending champs wasn't enough for Jalen Rose.

"Moral victories are getting old," he said. "We've got to
find a way to find a way to seize the moment and get games like
this."

Toronto lost Vince Carter to a strained left Achilles' tendon in
the opening minute of the second half. Carter was driving along the
baseline when he pulled up and fell near Pistons owner Bill
Davidson's seat. He was helped to the locker room and didn't
return.

Carter's status for Toronto's game against Denver on Friday
night was not immediately known.

The game was played a few hours after five Pacers and seven fans
were charged in one of the worst brawls in U.S. sports history.

"I'm just hopeful that this brings some closure," Brown said.
"No one got seriously hurt and now maybe we can get back to
basketball."

Wednesday's game was tied at 75 with less than four minutes to
play when Donyell Marshall finished off a big run for the Raptors
with a 3-pointer. Wallace broke the Pistons' six-minute scoreless
streak with a free throw, but Rose increased the Raptors' lead to
four with two shots from the line.

After two more free throws by Wallace, Richard Hamilton's short
jumper tied it at 80 with 1:29 to go. Those were the only points
scored by a Pistons player other than Wallace in the fourth.

Rasheed Wallace had a chance to win at the buzzer, but his
3-pointer bounced off the rim.

Hamilton, though, scored on three of Detroit's first five
possessions in overtime, and the Pistons' defense did the rest.

"Our guys wanted it, but Detroit did what they do best,"
Toronto coach Sam Mitchell said. "Games like this happen
sometimes. We had a chance."

Hamilton topped Detroit with 19 points, while Rasheed Wallace
added 16.

Marshall led all scorers with 22, and Rose added 16.

"In the last couple minutes, and definitely in overtime, we got
stagnant," Rose said. "It's hard to score when you let a great
defensive team like Detroit get a chance to settle in and watch
what you are running on offense."

Detroit trailed for much of the first half, but scored the final
eight points to take a 38-37 lead into intermission.

Even without Carter, the Raptors stayed close early in the third
quarter, but Detroit began to pull away as the period progressed.

Toronto went scoreless for nearly three minutes during one
stretch, allowing the Pistons to increase their lead to 61-50, and
led 69-58 at period's end.

Milt Palacio, though, had six points in the Raptors' run that
tied the game with 5:03 left.

Game notes
The seven fans who were charged in connection with the Nov.
19 incident, including Wallace's brother David, have been banned
from the Palace for the rest of the season, if not longer. ...
Antonio McDyess (calf) missed his third straight game for Detroit.
... Carter has only missed one game this season -- he didn't play
Dec. 4 because of food poisoning. ... The game was the 2,000th
regular-season contest of Brown's pro career, counting the ABA.