NBA Game Summary - Minnesota at Detroit
(Wednesday, November 17th)
Final Score: Detroit 93, Minnesota 85
Auburn Hills, MI (Sports Network) - Chauncey Billups scored 19 of his 21 points in the second half to help the Detroit Pistons rally for a 93-85 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves in coach Larry Brown's first game back from hip surgery.
Richard Hamilton was 11-of-14 from the foul line to net a game-high 24 points for the Pistons, who were 2-3 under assistant Gar Heard in Brown's absence. Brown considered staying away from the sideline for one more game to recover, but decided to give it a go at the last minute. He limped to the bench during pregame introductions to the delight of the Palace crowd.
"(Pistons GM) Joe Dumars told me I was the first coach to ever have a game time decision," Brown said. "I was tired. I felt like I played."
Tayshaun Prince also had a big game for Detroit, shooting 9-of-13 for 19 points. Billups, who missed the team's last game with a sprained left ankle, added eight assists. Ben Wallace recorded seven points and 10 rebounds after missing a pair of games due to the death of his brother.
Kevin Garnett and Latrell Sprewell had 24 points apiece for the Timberwolves, who saw their brief two-game win streak come to an end. Garnett also pulled down a game-high 13 boards for Minnesota, which had captured 11 of the previous 13 meetings with the Pistons.
Garnett's jumper expanded the Minnesota lead to 57-50 in the third quarter, but Detroit exploded for 24 of the next 30 points to claim a 74-63 advantage heading into the final stanza
A three by Billups just past the five-minute mark of the third put the Pistons in front, 59-57, for the first time since early in the first quarter. Billups followed that up with eight more points over the rest of the period.
"He hit the two big shots that really turned the game around," said Minnesota head coach Flip Saunders, referring to the three-pointer and Billups' three- point play on the Pistons' next possession.
Both teams rested the bulk of their starters early in the fourth quarter. The Wolves' reserves got the best of Detroit's, posting nine straight points to get right back in the game. After connecting from long range, Troy Hudson hit a jumper to narrow the gap to 75-70, and Eddie Griffin followed with a basket to make it a three-point game.
Billups and Prince re-entered and made their presence felt, as the Pistons tallied the next six points to establish an 81-72 cushion with four minutes to play.
Sprewell was fouled beyond the arc by Prince with a minute remaining and hit all three free throws to get Minnesota as close as five at 87-82.
Wallace then converted a big three-point play at the other end to virtually seal the victory.
The Pistons outscored Minnesota by a 42-20 margin in the paint.
"You can't win an NBA game getting 20 points from the paint," added Saunders. "We didn't give our big guys enough touches going into the paint."
Garnett and Sprewell each had 11 points to help the Wolves out to a 45-41 halftime lead. Minnesota was ahead by as much as nine when Michael Olowokandi's bucket made it 31-22 early in the second quarter.
A steal and fast break dunk by Prince drew the Pistons within 39-38 with 2:43 to go in the half.
Sprewell's three-point play extended the margin to four, and that's how it stayed going into the intermission after Wally Szczerbiak's dunk at the buzzer was waved off by video review.
Prince finished the opening 24 minutes with 11 points, one less than Hamilton's game-high 12.
Billups reached the 6,000-point plateau for his career...Minnesota point guard Sam Cassell was held to just three points in 30 minutes and fouled out in the final minute...Hudson finished with 11 points...Hamilton shot just 6-of-18 from the field...Wallace failed to record a double-double for the first time this season...Minnesota took both meetings from Detroit last season.
11/17 23:21:41 ET