Billups scores 27 in Pistons comeback win

PHOENIX (AP) -- Those Detroit Pistons sure know how to finish a
game. The Phoenix Suns, a work in progress, have a knack for
blowing fourth-quarter leads at home.

Richard Hamilton scored 11 points in the final 7½ minutes and
Chauncey Billups sank a game-clinching 3-pointer with 16 seconds to
go to keep the Pistons unbeaten with a 111-104 victory over the
Suns on Thursday night.

Billups had 27 points and 11 assists for the Pistons, the
league's lone team without a loss. At 5-0, they are off to their
best start since they won their first eight en route to the NBA
title in 1988-89.

"We just want to keep it going," Hamilton said. "Guys here
are very energetic. Everybody's pulling for each other. We want to
win as many games as possible, and we did a great job tonight."

In an intense game throughout, the Suns -- 0-3 at home -- led by
11 with 2:38 to go in the third quarter and eight to start the
fourth, blowing a late lead at home for the second time this
season. They were up by 17 in the fourth quarter of their home
opener against Dallas but lost in double overtime.

Their other home loss was a one-pointer to Sacramento.

"It seems like we need about a nickel more to make a dollar,"
coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We're almost there and we can't quite
finish it up."

Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince scored 18 apiece and Rasheed
Wallace 16 for Detroit. Ben Wallace had 15 points and 16 rebounds.

Leandro Barbosa scored 21 to lead seven Suns in double figures
but didn't play the final 6:05. Steve Nash scored 18 with eight
assists and six turnovers. Shawn Marion had 12 points and 10
rebounds. Raja Bell scored 14.

Nash, uncharacteristically, refused to talk to reporters

"It hurts, man, because when you're working as hard as we were
working out there tonight, especially to shut them down," Marion
said, "then players get in a rhythm."

Detroit outscored the Suns 12-2 over the final four minutes.
Phoenix turned it over on its final two possessions on attempts by
Nash to pass the ball inside, first to Brian Grant and then to Kurt

The Pistons tied it at 102 on Rasheed Wallace's second 3-pointer
of the fourth quarter with 3:14 to play.

Nash followed with a 16-footer to put Phoenix back on top,
104-102 with 2:55 to go. The Suns never scored again.

Hamilton sank consecutive long jumpers, the second one giving
Detroit the lead for good at 106-104 with 59 seconds remaining.
After a turnover, the Pistons moved the ball around the perimeter
to Billups, who sank the 3-pointer from the right of the key to
give the defending Eastern Conference champions a 109-104 lead. Ben
Wallace's breakaway stuff after another turnover provided the final

"The defense turned it up, no question," Detroit coach Flip
Saunders said. "Offensively, we turned things up. ... It was at
both ends. That's why this has been a championship team. It was a
fun game to watch. I'm sure the people at TNT got their money's

After a 52-all tie at halftime, the Suns opened the second half
with a 14-4 run. Raja Bell scored five in the run, and capped it
with a 16-footer that put Phoenix up 66-56 with 8:26 to play in the
third quarter. Nash had a three-point play in the surge on a
left-handed drive after he was fouled by Billups.

Barbosa scored the Suns' final six points of the quarter and
Phoenix led 82-74 entering the fourth.

Neither team led by more than seven points in the first half.

Rasheed Wallace was booed loudly, but the effect was the
opposite of what the Suns' fans desired when he came into the game
for the final time, hit two big shots and played strong defense.

"I love it," Wallace said. "I love going into the opposing
team's house and getting that crowd riled up and going in there and
getting that `W.' That's something I've always liked doing ever
since I was in high school. You know, ain't nothing changed about
me but the weather."

Game notes
Suns center Pat Burke saw his first action of the season,
going 0-for-2 in three minutes of the first quarter. ... Phoenix
used 10 players in the first quarter, but Jim Jackson never got off
the bench all night. ... Boris Diaw got his first start for the
Suns and finished with 10 points and six assists. ... The Suns'
bench outscored the Pistons' 40-17.

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