Prince scores 27 as Pistons deny Bosh, Raptors team's first 4-0 start

TORONTO -- Tayshaun Prince more than made up for Allen Iverson's absence, making sure the Detroit Pistons remained unbeaten.

Prince scored 16 of his 27 points in the second quarter, and Richard Hamilton had 22 to help the Pistons beat the Toronto Raptors 100-93 on Wednesday night.

Iverson was unavailable for Detroit because Chauncey Billups, one of three players traded to Denver in exchange for Iverson, hadn't completed his physical with the Nuggets. Iverson didn't sit on the team bench.

Rodney Stuckey added 14 points, and Rasheed Wallace had 11 points and 12 rebounds for Detroit (4-0).

Pistons coach Michael Curry said when Wallace and Hamilton are scoring, Prince sometimes winds up as "the forgotten man," so he decided to give Prince extra rest in the first quarter, then run him out again in the second and make him the offensive focus. The strategy worked perfectly against the Raptors.

"We can feature him a little more during that time," Curry said. "Sometimes we've got to move Tay around with his minutes to make sure we take advantage of him and get him a lot of opportunities to be aggressive. He was really good offensively and defensively tonight."

Prince shot 5-for-6 in the second and added two assists, three rebounds and a block.

"When I'm out there with [the second unit], I've got to be aggressive and make plays for them but at the same time, look for opportunities," Prince said. "I know that, starting games, we are going to go to Rasheed and obviously try to get Rip involved. If I start the second quarter, that's the time for me to make some plays and it just so happened that they went in."

Chris Bosh had 26 points and 13 rebounds, and Jose Calderon had 24 points for Toronto (3-1) in its unsuccessful bid for its first 4-0 start.

"We just didn't play well," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said. "I don't think they did anything necessarily, we just couldn't guard their twos and threes."

Detroit took a 76-71 lead into the fourth quarter, but the Raptors cut the gap to one on Bosh's dunk and Will Solomon's jumper.

A three-point play by Kwame Brown gave the Pistons an 86-82 lead, and Prince's tunraround hook shoot made it 94-88 with just over a minute remaining. Hamilton went 6-for-6 from the free-throw line in the final 25 seconds to seal the win.

It was a frustrating night for Toronto's Jermaine O'Neal, who shot 3-for-10 and finished with eight points.

"I knew it was going to be a process but I didn't know I was going to be four games in and still looking for my rhythm," O'Neal said. "You want to do well, you want to dominate at your position, it just really hasn't worked out for me yet."

O'Neal was called for a technical foul after ripping his headband off while arguing a non-call in the third.

Toronto led 23-20 after one quarter, but Prince scored six points as the Pistons opened the second quarter with an 11-2 run to open a 31-25 lead at 8:50.

"They were running almost the same play every time," Calderon said. "We could not stop Tayshaun Prince."

Ahead 54-46 at the half, Detroit widened its lead with a 9-2 run to start the third, forcing the Raptors to call timeout at 8:38, down 63-48.

The Raptors cut the gap to five points after three quarters.

"The Raptors, in the last six minutes of the third, kind of picked us apart," Prince said.

Game notes
With Iverson unavailable, Stuckey started for the Pistons, who also sent top reserve Antonio McDyess and Cheikh Samb to Denver in the Monday trade. ... Iverson could play when Detroit visits New Jersey on Friday night. After that, the Pistons are home against Boston on Sunday.


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