Hamilton scores 24 points, Price has 23 for Pistons

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- The Detroit Pistons know they haven't played well in recent weeks.

They also know they have plenty of time to regain the dominance that saw them start the season with a 47-9 record.

After losing three of five, the Pistons took the first step back up the ladder with a 94-78 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Sunday.

"We don't expect to go out there in one night and be back to where we were a couple months ago," Ben Wallace said. "We have to build that."

Detroit needed only 62 games to reach 50 wins, breaking the team record set in 1988-89 by four games. They need to go 14-6 in their final 20 games to break the franchise mark of 63 wins.

"This is step one, but we don't want to be at step 10 right now, anyway," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. "We have a few weeks yet before we want to be at step 10."

The Bobcats had their modest two-game winning streak snapped and dropped to 0-3 against Detroit this season.

"They've been struggling a little bit, if you can call 49 wins struggling, but they just have too many pieces," Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "I'm proud of our guys. That was about the most competitive that we've been with Detroit this year."

Richard Hamilton scored 24 points and Tayshaun Prince added 23 for Detroit.

"It's been a long time since I've touched the ball that many times," said Prince, who entered the game averaging 13.6 points. "Once you get going some nights, you can keep things rolling for yourself."

Tony Delk added 11 points for the Pistons, while Antonio McDyess had 10 points and 11 rebounds and Wallace had 15 rebounds and eight points.

"Dice was great -- he really got into a rhythm and helped us on both ends," Saunders said. "And Tony's coming along. He's still learning our system, but he did some nice things tonight."

Raymond Felton led Charlotte with 18 points -- only two after the
half -- and Melvin Ely scored 15 off the bench. Jumaine Jones added
his second double-double of the season, finishing with 13 points
and 11 rebounds.

"We just wanted to come out and compete," Jones said. "We played against a great team tonight, and they were just better than we were."

Detroit led 50-39 at the half, getting 14 points from Prince.

The Pistons led by 15 early in the third, but the Bobcats rallied to pull within 65-60 late in the period.

Detroit, though, scored the next nine points, including an acrobatic three-point play by Hamilton, and took a 76-62 lead into the fourth quarter.

Charlotte scored the first five points of the fourth, narrowing the margin to nine, but Chauncey Billups finished a run with a 3-pointer and the Bobcats could never get the stops they needed to pull even.

"If you stop one player, they go somewhere else," Bickerstaff said. "They seem to always know where to go, and somebody always delivers."

Game notes
Rasheed Wallace wowed his teammates during pregame warmups by pulling off a trick where he made two 3-pointers at the same time -- one with each hand. ... Charlotte's Gerald Wallace left the game in the first quarter with a strained left calf and did not
return. ... Ben Wallace gave the Pistons a scare late in the first quarter when he twisted his left ankle, but he returned before halftime.


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