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Pistons overwhelm Hornets in second half

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Ben Wallace wouldn't let the Detroit
Pistons get off to another slow start at home.

Wallace had seven points, six rebounds and three blocks in the
first quarter, and the Pistons ended the New Orleans' Hornets'
modest winning streak with a 90-76 victory Wednesday night.

"That's what Ben does, and I don't think anyone else does it as
well," Pistons coach Larry Brown said. "He does all the little
things that you can't coach. That's why he's an All-Star, and
that's why this team wins. He's amazing."

Wallace finished with 11 points and a season-best 19 rebounds as
Detroit won for the eighth time in 10 games.

"We're still building and trying to correct a lot of little
things," he said. "Tonight, I got a couple blocks early and that
set a tone and got the crowd into it."

The Hornets (4-30) had doubled their season win total with
victories over Sacramento and the Knicks, but were no match for the
defending NBA champions.

"They are the world champions, and you have to give them a lot
of credit," New Orleans coach Byron Scott said. "We will go back
to the drawing board. We had a good two-game run and we want to
start it back over again."

Chauncey Billups added 25 points for Detroit, while Richard
Hamilton had 20 points and a season-high 10 assists.

"I see signs of us getting a little better," Brown said. "We
did a lot of good things tonight against an improving team."

Baron Davis and Lee Nailon led the Hornets with 16 points each.

Detroit led 46-38 at the half behind 17 points from Billups. Ten
of his points came in a 10-4 run midway through the second quarter.

New Orleans stayed close for most of the third, but back-to-back
dunks by Wallace and Tayshaun Prince put the Pistons ahead 70-55
late in the period.

"We were only down eight at the half, but we couldn't get a
stop in the third quarter," P.J. Brown said. "We just traded
baskets with them and that turned out to be the key to the game.
They are a good team, but we should have made a better game out of
it."

Detroit led 72-59 at quarter's end, thanks to 10 in the period
from Hamilton, then put the game away by scoring the first six
points of the fourth.

The game was comfortable enough for the Pistons that the fans
began chanting for Darko Milicic with nine minutes to play. The
second pick in the 2003 draft played the final 3:30, but missed his
only two shots.

Game notes
The game was the first of four at home in six days for
Detroit. The Pistons play back-to-back against Orlando and
Philadelphia on Friday and Saturday, then finish with a Martin
Luther King Day matinee against Phoenix. ... The Orlando game is
expected to be Grant Hill's first game at the Palace since he was
traded to the Magic after the 1999-2000 season. ... New Orleans had
won five of six against Detroit before getting swept this season.
... Lindsey Hunter's 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter was
originally ruled good, but a replay review showed it came after the
clock had expired.