Billups scores winning basket with 8.2 seconds left

CHICAGO (AP) -- Chauncey Billups and the Detroit Pistons gave the Chicago Bulls a taste of playoff basketball.

Billups scored 28 points, including the game-winning basket with 8.2 seconds left, to help Detroit clinch the Central Division with an 85-84 overtime victory over Chicago on Monday night.

Billups scored seven points in the extra session to lead a Pistons comeback after Chicago scored the first eight points. Detroit scored 12 of the final 15 points to escape with the victory.

The Bulls clinched their first playoff berth since the 1998 season with a 110-97 victory over Toronto on Saturday, but the defending champs gave Chicago a sneak peak of what the playoffs are really going to be like in two weeks.

"That was a playoff game," Billups said. "They came to play. We did too. People got their money's worth."

The Pistons' division title gives them the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, behind only top-seeded Miami.

"It starts there. When you're on an elite team, that's where you start at. You want to control your own division," Billups said.

The Pistons have won seven straight and handed the Bulls just their second loss in 14 games.

Kirk Hinrich scored 15 points to lead the Bulls, who played without Eddy Curry for the eighth straight game because of an irregular heartbeat.

Rasheed Wallace added 14 points for Detroit and Ben Wallace had 12 points and 13 rebounds.

Trailing 81-73 with 2:47 remaining in overtime, the Pistons and Billups came back by outscoring the Bulls 12-3. Billups capped it with a jumper after using an impressive crossover dribble to free himself from Chris Duhon.

"I feel like if I am one-on-one, I always can get a pretty good shot or I can get somebody else a good shot," Billups said. "I just rocked him and crossed him and I got some time to get my feet set."

Billups and Ben Wallace had back-to-back baskets to cut Chicago's lead to 81-77 with 1:55 left. Billups then hit a 3 to get within 82-80 with 41 seconds left. After Ben Gordon's jumper, Rasheed Wallace hit another 3 to cut Chicago's lead to 84-83 with 16 seconds left. Ben Wallace then stole Antonio Davis' pass to set up Billups' winner.

Despite shooting 2-of-12 in regulation, Andres Nocioni hit a 3 for Chicago to start the overtime period. Hinrich then came down and drove the lane for a layup. Nocioni followed with another 3, right in front of Detroit coach Larry Brown, to give Chicago an eight-point lead.

Brown was upset at Nocioni after the game. It appeared that Nocioni accidentally elbowed Tayshaun Prince when Davis turned over the ball after Rasheed Wallace's 3, but Brown thought the shot was on purpose.

"There was a cheap shot in that game. There was a real cheap shot, which, as hard as both teams played, is pretty disappointing," Brown said.

Nocioni and Brown have a history that dates to last summer's Olympics, when Nocioni's Argentina team upset Brown's United States squad for the gold medal.

Prince wasn't impressed with the elbow, either.

"I really don't think it was an accident," he said.

Gordon and Tyson Chandler both added 14 points for Chicago. Gordon had a chance to win the game at the overtime buzzer but missed a 23-footer.

"That was disappointing, especially because we had the lead in overtime," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. "We just did not play with a lot of composure right at the very end, and it cost us."

Nocioni had 12 points and 10 rebounds for Chicago and Chandler added 16 rebounds.

"We are a physical team," Gordon said. "Nobody is going to give anybody easy shots, nothing is going to be easy. It's going to be very physical."

Carlos Arroyo hit Rasheed Wallace on a cut to the basket for an easy dunk, giving the Pistons a 64-58 lead in the fourth quarter. Arroyo then converted a three-point play with 6:54 left giving Detroit a 67-61. But the Bulls came back and scored six straight points to tie it on Gordon's two free throws with 4:09 left.

The teams then traded baskets until the buzzer. Rasheed Wallace spun around Chandler for a basket, giving the Pistons a 73-71 lead. Hinrich then missed a 20-footer but made up for it on the ensuing possession when he hit a layup in traffic to tie it with 52.6 seconds left.

The Pistons had a chance to win, but Prince missed a baseline jumper as time expired.

Both teams struggled offensively in the third quarter. The Bulls didn't make their first field goal in the second half until Chandler put back Jannero Pargo's airball with 6:28 left in the third quarter. Chicago missed its first 10 shots and was 5-for-23 in the quarter. The Pistons were 6-for-17 in the quarter. Billups' jumper beat the third-quarter buzzer, giving the Pistons a 58-52 lead.

The Bulls and the Pistons were tied at 41 at the half. Eric Piatkowski made a layup in transition to tie it with 22.2 seconds left. The Bulls shot 36.7 percent in the half and had 13 offensive rebounds.

Game notes
The Bulls' last home win against the Pistons was a 98-92 victory on Jan. 22, 2000. ... Chicago entered the game with a 35-15 record since Jan. 1, the best in the league. ... The Pistons have won 10 straight at the United Center.