Detroit 118, Boston 66

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BOSTON (TICKER) —One of the most storied franchises in sports had one of its darkest moments.

The Boston Celtics, owners of 16 NBA titles, suffered the worst loss in their 57-year history while the Detroit Pistons collected their largest victory with a demoralizing 118-66 drubbing.

Richard Hamilton scored 29 points and former Celtic Chauncey Billups added 24 in 26 minutes for the Pistons, who never trailed and led by as many as 60 points in the second-largest road win in NBA history.

The margin of victory was the largest in Pistons’ history. Their previous high was a 119-73 win over Indiana on April 2, 1987.

“It’s a basketball game,” said Boston’s Antoine Walker, who went 1-for-15 in his return after a four-game absence with a right knee sprain. “It doesn’t matter if you lose by one or by 50. It’s still a loss.”

Boston’s previous most lopsided loss came in a 114-69 setback to Washington on October 31, the second game of the season.

“That’s insignificant to me,” said Detroit coach Rick Carlisle, who was drafted by Boston in 1984. “I’m just happy we won and it’s a great win for our team.”

Boston also came within four points of the franchise low as it shot under 30 percent (23-of-77) from the field.

The largest road win in NBA history was a 136-80 rout by Seattle at Houston on December 6, 1986.

“It was one of those games you just want to forget about,” said Walker.

So ugly was the effort that what remained of the sellout crowd of 18,624 at the FleetCenter started rooting for Pistons’ baskets.

“It happens, fans do that,” said Boston’s Walter McCarty, who missed both shots he took in 22 minutes.

The teams combined to shoot 0-of-15 to open the third quarter. After Kedrick Brown’s 3-pointer at the 4:10 mark, Detroit scored 37 of the next 40 points until Brown scored on a follow shot with 5:33 to play.

“I chose not to be overly disturbed,” Celtics coach Jim O’Brien said. “I am very unhappy that we did not play a good basketball game.”

The frustration started to build for Boston and especially for Paul Pierce, who was ejected after arguing a call from the bench at 1:33 in the third quarter.

Pierce, who scored 23 points, threw his warm-up shirt onto the court as he walked away in disgust. He did not speak to the media after the game.

“If the game had been a little closer he probably would have kept quiet a little bit because we probably would’ve had had a legitimate shot at getting back into the game,” said Walker.

Billups set the tone early in the first half, hitting all eight shots for 22 points. Hamilton added 15 as Detroit headed into the locker room with a 61-34 lead, their biggest half this season.

“We just wanted to stay on them, I kind of got a rhythm early and Chauncey ended up having a rhythm,” Hamilton said. “We just tried to make it tough on their two best scorers, make other guys shoot the ball.”

The Pistons, bounced by Boston in the first round of last year’s playoff, won here for the first time since a 110-92 triumph on November 10, 1999.

The teams meet twice more this season, with Boston traveling to Detroit on March 15, likely looking for revenge.

“It’s only right,” said Billups. “When you lose like that, players have a lot of pride so they’ll be coming at us, but players have a lot of pride so they’ll be coming at us, but we’ll be up to the challenge.”

“We’ll deal with Detroit accordingly when we see them,” added Walker.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
C. Billups C. Billups
9-14,  24 Pts
5 Rebs, 3 Assists
P. Pierce P. Pierce
8-18,  23 Pts
9 Rebs, 1 Assists

Team Stat Leaders