NBA Game Summary - Phoenix at Detroit
(Sunday, April 2nd)
Final Score: Detroit 109, Phoenix 102
Auburn Hills, MI (Sports Network) - Chauncey Billups scored a game-high 35 points to lead Detroit back from a 17-point deficit as the Pistons edged Phoenix, 109-102, in a battle of first place clubs at the Palace of Auburn Hills. With the win, Detroit clinched the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
Tayshaun Prince added 23 points and eight rebounds for the Pistons, who won for the fourth consecutive time. Rasheed Wallace chipped in with 15 points while Richard Hamilton had 12 points in the win.
"That was one of our goals," Billups said of clinching home court advantage throughout the conference playoffs. "That and trying to get home court all the way through. So it was important."
Shawn Marion netted 32 points and 10 boards for the Suns, who lost for the first time in three games. Boris Diaw recorded 16 points while Steve Nash had 13 points and nine assists in the loss.
"They made a good run at us, and they won the game," Marion said. "Give them credit for that, but this was our fifth game in seven days, and if a couple calls or a couple shots go our way, we still might win."
After finally waking up in the third quarter, the Pistons got back on top by scoring eight of the first 10 points in the fourth quarter. House opened the quarter with a jumper but Detroit responded with eight consecutive points.
Prince started the flurry with a lay-in. After Antonio McDyess connected on a jumper and Hamilton scored on a driving lay-in, Prince finished things with another layup and the Pistons led 89-86 with just over nine minutes left.
The Suns did not fade however and answered with four straight points to climb back on top. First, Nash hit a pair of free throws and Diaw followed with a jumper to make the score 90-89 with 7:44 left.
The two teams continued to play a nip and tuck game as they headed towards the stretch. Down 96-94, the Pistons surged ahead when Billups sandwiched a Nash jumper with back-to-back treys. The second three made the score 100-98 with 3:40 on the clock.
Just over a minute later, Prince got loose for a slam and Detroit edged ahead by four points, 102-98.
After Diaw made 1-of-2 from the line, the Pistons earned three free throws of their own on back-to-back trips to the line. A pair by Hamilton made the score 105-99 with just 28 ticks left.
Four seconds later, Marion drained a quick three to draw the Suns closer but the Pistons were solid from the line in the final seconds to earn the win.
"We changed up our scheme a little bit defensively and made them take tougher shots," Billups said. "Once we made our adjustments and changed our scheme a little bit at halftime, we started hitting some shots as well, and our defense picked our offense up, too."
Phoenix jumped out to a 29-22 advantage after the first 12 minutes. The Suns then used a dominating second quarter to take a 14-point advantage into intermission, 63-49. Marion had 14 points to lead the Suns at the half while Wallace had 13 for the Pistons.
Detroit clawed its way back in the contest with a superlative third quarter and found themselves down by just three points, 84-81, heading to the final frame.
Wallace was nearly late to the game, arriving 20 minutes before tip-off. There was confusion as to who would start, Wallace or Antonio McDyess.
"When I was driving. I looked at my cell phone," Wallace said. "I was like, 'oh snap, I gotta get to where I'm getting to.' The whole little clock thing had me messed up."
Wallace later picked up a technical foul in the third quarter, his 16th of the season, earning an automatic one-game suspension. Wallace will likely sit out Tuesday's home game against the Hornets.
"We're still going to go out there, do what we gotta do to win," Wallace said. "I'm just going to be cheering from home."
The Pistons are an amazing 33-3 at home this season and are 19-1 in their last 20 home games...The Suns are 21-15 as the guest in 2005-06...Marion recorded his league-high 56th double-double.
04/02 18:12:46 ET