The Detroit Pistons shouldn’t have too much trouble extending their win streak with the way they’ve been playing on the road lately.
The Pistons continue a three-game trip when they visit the New Orleans Hornets.
Detroit has won eight straight, with five victories coming on the road. The Pistons have the third-best road record in the NBA at 22-15 after winning seven of their last eight away from home.
The Pistons, who have won by an average of nearly 22 points during the run, opened the trip with another dominating defensive effort in a 96-76 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday.
Detroit’s league-leading defense, allowing 84.6 points per game, held the Cavs to just 38.2 percent shooting and forced rookie phenom LeBron James into a 5-for-17 performance from the field.
“Defense carries their team and they are going to go a long way,” James said. “I pretty much picked them to be in the Eastern Conference finals.”
Chauncey Billups scored 18 points to lead six players in double figures.
The Pistons have not allowed an 80-point scorer during the win streak and have held the opposition to an average of 69.4 points. They set an NBA record by holding five straight teams below 70 points.
“I don’t know any other team that plays defense like they do,” Cavs forward Carlos Boozer said.
Detroit is two wins shy of matching a team record seven-game road win streak from Jan. 18 through Feb. 22, 2002. The Pistons also need four more victories away from home to match the franchise’s best ever road record—26-15 in 1988-89. They have four road games remaining this season, including a meeting with the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday.
The Hornets could not contain Toronto guard Vince Carter on Sunday as he torched them for 42 points to lead the Raptors to a 121-120 overtime victory.
Baron Davis had 29 points as New Orleans lost for the sixth time in nine games despite forcing 17 turnovers—11 on steals—and holding a 48-32 rebounding edge.
“This just doesn’t make any sense,” said Davis, who had five steals. “We outplayed them in every category and the game should have been over in regulation.”
Jamaal Magloire added 23 points and 18 rebounds for New Orleans, which set an NBA season high with 60 free throw attempts.
New Orleans is 23-14 at home and 1-2 on a four-game homestand. The Hornets, currently in fourth place in the East, play only four of their remaining 12 games at home.
STANDINGS (through March 21): Pistons - 2nd place, 5 GB, Central Division. Hornets - 3rd place, 14 1/2 GB, Central Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Pistons - Hamilton, 17.8 ppg; B. Wallace, 12.9 rpg; Billups, 5.6 apg. Hornets - Davis, 23.1 ppg and 7.6 apg; Magloire, 10 rpg.
SEASON SERIES: Hornets, 2-1.
LAST MEETING: Feb. 6; Hornets, 92-81. At New Orleans, Jamal Mashburn had 22 points and 10 rebounds and the Hornets starters outscored the Pistons’ 69-39.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Pistons - 22-15 on the road; Hornets - 23-14 at home.