The Pistons defeated Boston 94-84 on Monday, as Rasheed Wallace scored 18 of his 23 points in the third quarter to lead Detroit to its 15th victory in 17 games. The Pistons’ start is the sixth-best in league history.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Billups, who had 13 points and 16 assists. “I knew we were going to get off to a good first half, but I didn’t think we were going to be this good.”
Detroit had 30 assists against the Celtics, reaching the mark for the second straight game. The Pistons also appeared to have little trouble in erasing a 14-point second-quarter deficit, going on a 19-4 run to take a 41-40 halftime lead.
Reserve Carlos Delfino, part of the Pistons’ outstanding depth, scored eight points in the period.
“We came out kind of flat,” Detroit coach Flip Saunders said. “We brought in Carlos, and he got us back in the game, took over the game, and everybody else finished.”
The Pistons are shooting 46.1 from the field and have four players averaging double figures in scoring, led by Richard Hamilton’s 21.5 points per game.
The Pistons have won the last three matchups with the Hawks, including a 95-68 rout at Philips Arena on April 19 in the last meeting between the teams.
The Hawks snapped a four-game losing streak on Monday with a 94-83 victory over Houston, the club with the worst record in the Western Conference. Atlanta converted 19 Rockets turnovers into 27 points, and Al Harrington and Joe Johnson combined for 50 points.
“We’ve got to build on this,” Johnson said. “It’s nothing to be satisfied with. … We are a lot better than our record. We just have to keep winning.”
Johnson leads the Hawks with 18.9 points per game but has struggled against Detroit, averaging less than nine points in eight meetings.
Atlanta is looking to win two in a row for just the fourth time this season.