NBA Game Summary - Detroit at New Orleans/Oklahoma City
(Tuesday, January 10th)
Final Score: Detroit 96, New Orleans/Oklahoma City 86
Oklahoma City, OK (Sports Network) - Richard Hamilton poured in 30 points to pace Detroit to a 96-86 victory over the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets at the Ford Center.
Chauncey Billups contributed 18 points and six assists for the Pistons, who have won three of their last four contests and continue to carry the best record in the NBA at 27-5. Rasheed Wallace added 15 points and Tayshaun Prince scored 12 for Detroit.
"After the second half started, we locked down and were a lot better defensively," Pistons head coach Flip Saunders said. "Even though we got down, we didn't lose our aggressiveness."
Chris Paul, who was originally expected to be sidelined two weeks with a torn ligament in his right thumb, started and scored 13 points in the Hornets' second straight defeat. David West topped the Hornets with 20 points, while Speedy Claxton scored 18.
Paul suffered his injury during Friday's 90-80 Hornets win over Portland, but the rookie guard returned Tuesday and shot 4-of-14 from the field, and finished with five assists in 34 minutes.
"I was surprised he got clearance," Hornets head coach Byron Scott said of Paul. "I wanted to reserve judgment until tonight, and I was surprised at how well he played."
The Pistons scored the final eight points of the third quarter. A Claxton layup had the Hornets within 66-64 with 1:10 left, but Hamilton made a basket, and Prince and Carlos Arroyo followed with three-pointers.
Two free throws by Paul had the Hornets within 80-79 with 6:20 remaining. but Detroit countered with the next 12 points to pull away for good. Billups and Wallace drilled three-pointers to cap the spurt, giving the Pistons a 92-79 cushion with 3:39 remaining.
Ben Wallace pulled down 12 rebounds for Detroit.
Kirk Snyder had 13 points and Desmond Mason scored 10 for New Orleans/Oklahoma City.
The Hornets led by a point after the first quarter and were ahead 45-42 at the half.
Arroyo ended with eight points and fouled out with 7:43 remaining on a questionable call. He went into a tirade and bumped referee Rodney Mott...Detroit shot 51.4 percent from the floor, compared to 45.3 percent for the Hornets.
01/10 23:24:54 ET