NBA Game Summary - Seattle at Detroit
(Tuesday, March 4th)
Final Score: Detroit 100, Seattle 97
Auburn Hills, MI (Sports Network) - Tayshaun Prince poured in 24 points to help the Detroit Pistons hang on, edging the Seattle SuperSonics, 100-97, at the Palace.
Chauncey Billups returned after missing Saturday's 103-73 win over the Clippers for personal reasons, and scored 20 points, including 4-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc and a perfect 8-of-8 from the foul line, to go with nine assists and five steals for the Pistons, who returned home after posting a 3-1 mark during their Western Conference road swing.
Richard Hamilton contributed 18 points, and Jason Maxiell chipped in with eight points and nine rebounds, as Detroit has triumphed in five of its last six outings and 15 of 18 overall.
Earl Watson finished with 23 points on 8-of-14 field goal shooting, and also dished out seven assists for the Sonics, who have dropped five of their last six affairs. Kevin Durant donated 20 points, seven boards and five assists, and Chris Wilcox gave 20 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and handed out four helpers in the losing effort. Jeff Green added 15 points, as Seattle slipped to 1-1 on its seven-game road trip.
The Sonics have been defeated in seven straight meetings with the Pistons, including a 107-103 loss on November 11 at KeyArena. This was the final matchup of the season between the squads.
With the SuperSonics down four points, Watson drove from the top of the key through the paint, and went over top of Hamilton and Amir Johnson, using the glass to drop in a layup that brought Seattle within a basket, 96-94, with 43 seconds on the clock.
After taking a timeout, the Pistons extended their lead back to four points. Billups found Johnson in the low block off a pick-and-roll, and the young forward was able to muscle his way up to the basket over several Sonics, nailing a layup to make it a two-possession game, 98-94, with 31 seconds left.
Detroit head coach Flip Saunders said of Johnson: "He's making energy-type plays. ... He made a big, huge bucket when it was a two-point game to put us on a roll. Chauncey (Billups) showed enough confidence to give him the ball, and he made the bucket."
Seattle had a few opportunities to stay within striking distance, but Durant, Wilcox and Watson all missed jumpers before Billups reeled in a rebound for Detroit and was immediately fouled.
At the charity stripe, Billups was perfect, connecting on the pair to put the game away.
"I was very disappointed," Wilcox remarked. "I think the second quarter really hurt us. We could only score 13 points in the second quarter, and we couldn't bounce back. We came close and we stayed with them the whole game, but we just couldn't pull it through at the end and we ran out of gas."
In the early-going, the Sonics ripped off a 16-5 run en route to an enormous opening-quarter output. Johan Petro hit a layup just before the midway mark that sent Seattle ahead, 24-11.
"They were a little off early, and we played really well," stated Sonics head coach P.J. Carlesimo.
When the first frame concluded, the SuperSonics had built a 41-28 cushion.
"It was ugly," explained Billups. "They came out and jumped right on us. Usually that first game right after the West Coast (trip), for whatever reason, it's just like that. Not for us, but for everybody. So, they took advantage of that. I knew it was just a matter of time before we could start going."
The second stanza was a much different story, as the Pistons opened the period with a 10-1 burst that cut the deficit to just four points. Prince sparked the surge with a pair of free throws followed by a layup, and Johnson knocked down a foul shot that made it 42-38 with 5:28 remaining.
Detroit closed the half with a 6-0 spurt to pull within a point. Hamilton stroked a jumper as time expired, and the Pistons were right on the Sonics' heels, 54-53, with the squads heading into the locker rooms.
The third quarter saw the teams trade blows, and the one-point differential held up, 78-77, in Seattle's favor moving into the fourth.
Detroit improved to 44-16, while Seattle fell to 16-44...The Pistons are 23-5 as the host...Seattle will also visit Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Toronto, Indiana and Boston on the current swing, and is 6-23 on the road this season...Theo Ratliff, the newest Piston after being signed earlier Tuesday, was in attendance. His activation date is currently unknown...The Pistons travel to Boston on Wednesday for a showdown of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference.
03/05 00:47:58 ET