<
>

Darko scores career-high 16 in rout

ATLANTA (AP) -- Darko Milicic finally got some playing time and
gave a glimpse of why the 7-footer was the second overall pick in
the 2003 draft.

Tayshaun Prince scored 20 points and Ben Wallace added 15 points
and 17 rebounds to power the Detroit Pistons to their 11th
consecutive victory, 95-68 over the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night.

The Pistons, playing without injured starters Richard Hamilton
and Rasheed Wallace, also got a career-high 16 points from Milicic,
who made his first career start and played 30 minutes, also a
career-high.

"I was thrilled," Detroit coach Larry Brown said. "He had a
very productive night."

Milicic, who went behind Cleveland's Lebron James and ahead of
Denver's Carmelo Anthony and Miami's Dwyane Wade, in the draft,
said he wasn't surprised to get the playing time.

"No. Coach told me I was going to play a lot in the last two
games so he could rest some of the regulars for the playoffs,"
said Milicic, a native of Serbia-Montenegro.

He shook of a slow start, including getting his third personal
foul with 4:41 left in the first quarter. He went to the bench, but
returned in the second quarter and only committed one more foul. He
was 7-for-11 from the field and had five rebounds and three blocked
shots.

"I wasn't really nervous out there. I just needed to get
going," Milicic said.

"It was the first time I got to play so much. It felt good,"
he said. "I got a chance to show people what I can do. It's tough
not playing, but I just support my team. That's how it is."

Detroit's longest winning streak of the season is two shy of the
13 straight the Pistons had last season en route to the NBA
championship.

"We're finishing the season off very well," Prince said.
"Hopefully it will carry over to the playoffs, which it usually
does."

The 68 points by the Hawks matched their season-low.

The Pistons (54-27), with the second-best record in the Eastern
Conference, play Charlotte on Wednesday night to end the regular
season. Detroit opens the playoffs at home on Saturday.

Milicic doesn't expect to see much action in the postseason.

"I don't think getting playing time these two games at the end
is going to change anything," he said. "This team has all-stars.
But, you never know."

The hapless Hawks, with the worst record in the league (13-68),
failed again in their bid to win two in a row for the first time
this season. Atlanta closes its season Wednesday night at
Philadelphia.

Josh Smith led the Hawks with 18 points, while fellow rookies
Josh Childress and Donta Smith each added 12.

"I honestly didn't think we'd go the whole year without winning
two straight," Childress said. "But I don't want to think about
the negatives. Right now I'm looking to the future."

Prince, who played 26 minutes, was 8-of-10 from the field,
including 2-for-2 on 3s. Wallace was 7-of-10 from the field in 24
minutes but was only 1-of-7 at the free throw line.

Detroit's biggest lead came at 88-52 on a dunk by Ronald Dupree
with 7:24 left.

The Pistons took a 72-42 lead on a three-point play by Wallace
with 1:59 left in the third quarter. They led 45-32 at halftime.

Detroit used five non-starters for the entire second quarter --
except for Prince -- who played the final 1:44. Antonio McDyess had
eight points and Carlos Arroyo added seven in the quarter.

Game notes
Hamilton, Detroit's leading scorer, received a laceration
above his left eye Sunday against Cleveland. Rasheed Wallace has a
sore left hamstring. Both will play Saturday when the playoffs
begin. ... Atlanta's Tony Delk had a sore right knee and Kevin
Willis a sore foot. Neither played. Tom Gugliotta, who started and
played 10 minutes, hurt his left knee and did not return.