Wallace was a late scratch with a sore lower back for Saturday’s 100-85 win over the New York Knicks but should be well-rested to help keep the Pistons on the winning track.
Detroit lost back-to-back road games to New Orleans and San Antonio last week, the team’s first consecutive defeats in over a month, but the Pistons bounced back against the Knicks in the opener of the homestand.
Tayshaun Prince stepped up in Wallace’s absence and scored a game-high 20 points for his highest total since scoring a career-high 24 in a 102-100 overtime win over Miami on Feb. 2. Wallace averages 16.4 points per game.
Prince, a strong role player who averages 10.9 points and 4.9 rebounds, made all eight of his shots in the first half—including a pair of 3-pointers.
“I got a lot of easy buckets out there—some wide-open jumpers and a couple of dunks after I ran the floor on a break,” Prince said. “This is an unselfish team, and we are always going to look for the guy with the hot hand. Tonight, that was me.”
“I’m looking to do a better job of getting my teammates involved,” said Billups, whose 13 assists matched a season high. “I think that I can do that and still find ways to score. This was a good win for us—we knew they were banged-up, and we took advantage of that.”
Detroit, which also faces Miami, Indiana, Orlando and Toronto on the homestand, has a chance to reach the 50-win plateau for the third straight season in front of its home crowd. The Pistons finished 50-32 the last two seasons.
The Clippers will try to avoid losing nine straight for the first time since January 2001 after their most lopsided defeat of the season, 105-77 to the Golden State Warriors on Sunday.
Corey Maggette scored 21 points to lead the Clippers, who had more turnovers (20) than assists (18) and were outrebounded 53-40 in losing for the 16th time in the last 18 games.
“Every opportunity we had to make them miss, (Dampier) just created opportunities for them by getting to the glass,” Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said.
The Clippers, who have just one win in their last 11 road games, are one victory shy of surpassing their win total from last season. Los Angeles finished 2002-03 at 27-55.
STANDINGS (through March 29): Clippers - 6th place, 26 GB, Pacific Division. Pistons - 2nd place, 7 1/2 GB, Central Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Clippers - Maggette, 20.6 ppg; Brand, 10.3 rpg; Marco Jaric, 4.8 apg. Pistons - Hamilton, 17.8 ppg; B. Wallace, 12.8 rpg; Billups, 5.7 apg.
SEASON SERIES: Pistons, 1-0.
LAST MEETING: Feb. 29; Pistons, 100-88. At Los Angeles, Billups scored 28 points and Hamilton added eight of his 21 in the last seven minutes as the Pistons won their fourth straight.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Clippers - 9-29 on the road; Pistons - 25-10 at home.