Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 11/30

Game 1: Wednesday, November 30th
Game 2: Tuesday, January 31st
Game 3: Tuesday, February 14th
Game 4: Sunday, March 26th

Pistons 93

(11-2, 7-1 away)

Nets 83

(7-8, 4-3 home)

7:30 PM ET, November 30, 2005

IZOD Center, East Rutherford, NJ

1 2 3 4 T
DET 28 12 27 2693
NJ 21 24 18 2083

Top Performers

Det: R. Hamilton 30 Pts, 6 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl

NJ: R. Jefferson 20 Pts, 14 Reb, 5 Ast

Detroit keeps Nets stuck on 999 NBA victories

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Flip Saunders is getting a sense of what motivates his defending Eastern Conference champion Detroit Pistons.

Richard Hamilton scored 30 points and Detroit tied a team season high with 10 3-pointers in a 93-83 win over the New Jersey Nets on Wednesday night.

"My take is that these guys need challenges," said Saunders, in his first year as Pistons coach. "Sometimes maybe they can get a little bored out there. But when they're locked in, it's like a curtain goes up and you can see it in their faces. They go from fifth gear into a sixth gear."

The win allowed Detroit (11-2) to maintain the best record in the NBA this season, one-half game ahead of San Antonio (11-3), which was idle. The Pistons also improved to 7-1 on the road.

"We love playing on the road," said guard Chauncey Billups, whose 3-pointer with 1:35 remaining gave Detroit a 90-80 lead. "We love the idea of 14, 15, 18,000 people all being against you and being able to quiet the crowd. We love that. We feed off that."

Richard Hamilton scored 30 points to lead Detroit and hit a key 3-pointer -- one of a season high-tying 10 by the Pistons -- with 2:08 left after New Jersey's Jason Collins fumbled Tayshaun Prince's missed shot out of bounds. Hamilton's shot gave Detroit an 87-78 lead, their biggest since late in the first quarter.

Billups scored 20 points and Prince added 17 for Detroit. The Pistons built a 12-point lead in the first quarter, then saw it evaporate as the Vince Carter led a surge that gave the Nets a 45-40 lead at halftime.

As they have done in most games this season, the Pistons dominated in the second half, shooting 18-for-35 in the final 24 minutes. They retook the lead on a 16-5 third-quarter run and held off the Nets by patiently working the ball around and finding the open man. Usually that was Hamilton or Billups, who were a combined 16-for-27 for the game.

"Early in games we've gotten off to slow starts, but tonight we got off to a great start," said Prince. "In the second quarter we kind of got lazy a little bit and they capitalized on it. But the fourth quarter has been our quarter early in the season in terms of hitting our shots and executing our plays, and that's something that we did tonight."

Carter led the Nets with 27 points. Richard Jefferson added 20 for New Jersey, which was playing its first game at home after a five-game West Coast trip.

After holding Los Angeles and Denver to 34 percent and 38 percent, respectively, in its last two games, New Jersey's defense took a step back -- literally and figuratively -- in allowing the Pistons to shoot 33-for-73 (45 percent) as a team.

The Nets did outscore the Pistons in the paint 48-22, but couldn't convert on several chances late in the game.

"We feel we can compete against the best teams in the league," said Carter. "But against the better teams, you can't have the mental mistakes late in the game, because that's when the better team will prevail. They hit some big shots and we left them wide open to hit some big shots."

Game notes

The game was Jefferson's first against the Pistons since he injured his wrist last December on a hard foul by Billups and wound up missing three months. "What's there to say?" Jefferson said before the game. "I could say some stuff and give you something to write about, but I'd rather hurt him where it hurts them most, on the court." ... The Nets' next win will be the 1,000th in franchise history.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 93 83
FGM-FGA 33-73 (.452) 35-86 (.407)
3PM-3PA 10-20 (.500) 0-7 (.000)
FTM-FTA 17-20 (.850) 13-17 (.765)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 6-37 16-44
Assists 24 20
Turnovers 10 10
Steals 5 4
Blocks 3 3
Fast Break Points 7 5
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 16 (1/0) 18 (1/0)
Largest Lead 12 7

Top Performers

New Jersey
Richard Hamilton Hamilton
Points: 30
Reb: 6
Ast: 2
Stl: 1
Blk: 0
Richard Jefferson Jefferson
Points: 20
Reb: 14
Ast: 5
Stl: 0
Blk: 0