Pistons 92, Raptors 85

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TORONTO (AP)—Lenny Wilkens set a record he didn’t care for and Vince Carter didn’t know about.

Wilkens tied the NBA record for most career coaching losses, going down to defeat for the 1,106th time Tuesday night as Richard Hamilton scored 20 points and Ben Wallace had 20 rebounds to lead the Detroit Pistons past the Toronto Raptors 92-85.

Wilkens, already the winningest coach in league history with 1,291 victories, tied Bill Fitch’s record. Wilkens is in his 30th year as an NBA coach, whereas Fitch coached for 25 seasons.

“If you coach long enough that’s what happens. It’s not really a big thing,” said a somber Wilkens, who clearly didn’t want to talk about it. “I’ve been around a long time and have been successful, and with success that kind of thing comes.”

Wilkens, who has one year remaining on his contract but whose coaching future is nonetheless in jeopardy, will break the record if the Raptors lose to the Pistons in a rematch Wednesday night.

“I didn’t really know about it,” said Carter, who had 20 points. “I don’t even know what the record is.”

The Raptors were in danger of giving Wilkens the dubious feat in embarrassing fashion after falling behind by 22 in the third quarter, but they responded with a strong effort down the stretch.

Chauncey Billups scored 15 points, including six free throws in the final minute, to help Detroit win its fifth straight over Toronto. Former Raptor Corliss Williamson added 19 points off the bench.

“This is like a mini-rivalry,” Carter said. “It’s unfortunate that we won’t be able to play in the playoffs. but I think you saw effort that we wouldn’t quit.”

The Raptors closed to 86-83 with less than a minute remaining. But Jelani McCoy’s pass to Michael Bradley resulted in a turnover, and Billups made two free throws to make it 88-83 with 18.3 left.

Carter made a layup to cut the deficit to three, but Billups made four more free throws to close out the game.

“They made a frantic comeback,” Pistons coach Rick Carlisle said. “I give Toronto credit. They played hard the whole game and they made a fierce run at us.”

Toronto’s comeback was keyed by Carter and Rafer Alston, who each hit 3-pointers midway through the fourth. Alston then connected with Carter for an alley-oop to make it 82-71 with 5:56 to go.

Voshon Lenard led the Raptors with 21 points.

The victory gave Detroit a 1 1/2 -game lead over New Jersey atop the Eastern Conference. The Pistons have won six of their past eight games and 10 of 13.

“We have to refocus and dig down a little deeper and go out there and take care of it,” said Wallace, who also had three blocks. “We are not going todwell on this game too much. It was an ugly win, but we got the win.”


Toronto C Antonio Davis (strained groin) did not dress for the second straight game. Michael Bradley started in his place and finished with 10 points and 14 rebounds … Detroit is 13-2 in Toronto, its best road record against any team … Detroit G Chucky Atkins (bruised knee) did not play, while teammate Mehmet Okur left midway through the second quarter when he came down on his ankle after scoring on a layup. … The Raptors are ranked seventh inthe NBA in attendance (19,060) despite their miserable season.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
B. Wallace B. Wallace
1-6,  6 Pts
20 Rebs, 4 Assists
V. Lenard V. Lenard
8-16,  21 Pts
3 Rebs, 3 Assists

Team Stat Leaders