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NBA Game Summary - New Jersey at Detroit

(Friday, March 30th)

Final Score: Detroit 110, New Jersey 105

Auburn Hills, MI (Sports Network) - Chauncey Billups posted 32 points and 14 assists, as the Detroit Pistons kept the rest of the Central Division at arms length with a 110-105 win over the New Jersey Nets at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

Detroit leads both the Eastern Conference and Central standings by three games over Cleveland, and now just by 3 1/2 games over third-place Chicago, which clinched a playoff berth with its win Thursday.

Rasheed Wallace scored 22 points for the Pistons, who have won three of four. Antonio McDyess scored 18 points, while Tayshaun Prince added 15 points, a career-high nine assists and eight rebounds.

Richard Hamilton missed his fourth consecutive game with the flu, while Chris Webber returned from the same ailment to notch six points and seven boards.

Vince Carter posted 27 points and seven rebounds for the Nets, who are in a tight race at the bottom of the playoff picture. Josh Boone netted 17 points, Mikki Moore 16, and Richard Jefferson added 13 for New Jersey, which had a two-game winning streak snapped.

New Jersey is currently eighth overall in the Eastern Conference, one-half game behind of seventh-seeded Orlando. New Jersey also has an outside shot at the Atlantic Division title, as the club is seven games back of first-place Toronto with 10 games left on the schedule.

Prince hit a jumper with 53.5 seconds left in the game to put Detroit ahead 105-99. Bostjan Nachbar then nailed a three from the left corner with 47.4 seconds left.

Boone converted 1-of-2 free throws with 17.9 seconds remaining to cut New Jersey's deficit to 105-103, but Wallace hit 1-of-2 from the charity stripe a second later.

Billups then converted four straight free throws in the final 10 seconds to seal the win for the Pistons.

"We've been burying ourselves and then getting back," Detroit coach Flip Saunders said. "I didn't know if we had enough energy. I knew we'd get back in it, Whether we had enough energy to find a way to win it, that was a different story. It was a good, gutsy, grind-it-out win."

New Jersey exploded out of the gate on a 12-2 run capped by a Jefferson free throw four minutes into the game. Detroit responded with a 13-2 run, though, and Billups' jumper 3:32 later put the Pistons ahead, 15-14. Detroit led 26-21 heading into the second.

New Jersey went on a 9-1 spurt finished by a pair of Moore buckets for a 40-39 edge with 3:10 remaining in the second, but McDyess scored on a three straight jumpers down the stretch for a 45-42 halftime Pistons lead.

After Prince's driving dunk 48 seconds out of the locker room, the Nets went on a 14-4 burst ended by Jefferson's jam with 7:42 to go for a 56-51 advantage. New Jersey maintained that lead down the stretch for a 76-71 margin heading into the fourth.

"We had a great opportunity, but you can't give up 39 points in the fourth quarter to anyone in this league, much less that team," New Jersey guard Jason Kidd said. "They were aggressive and we didn't stop them."

Game Notes

New Jersey center Cliff Robinson (42,465) passed Buck Williams for 14th on the all-time minutes played list...Detroit got the series sweep against the Nets. Detroit has won nine of its last 12 meetings with New Jersey, including all four matchups this season...The teams last meeting came in New Jersey on January 31 and resulted in a 113-89 win for the Pistons. Hamilton had 24 points in the victory...The Nets have lost four of their last five at Detroit.

03/31 02:07:59 ET

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