Pistons 105, Hawks 83
Billups played just three minutes in the final quarter and Hamilton did not get off the bench.
“We did a good job of getting them down and keeping them down,” said Billups, who also had eight assists, seven rebounds and three steals. “We’ve had teams down big in the past, but have let them come back to break our hearts. We’ve learned from that.”
Rasheed Wallace didn’t do much—and didn’t have to—against the team he played one game for before being traded to Detroit.
He made just two of 10 shots and had six points and six rebounds.
Wallace downplayed both the game against the Hawks and his upcoming return to Portland, where he spent eight-plus seasons before being dealt to Atlanta.
“I’m just going to be happy to see my wife and kids. If she has the baby while we’re out there, it would be great, because I wouldn’t have to go back in a couple of weeks,” Wallace said.
“He only played one game with us, but we miss having him,” said Stephen Jackson, who scored 16. “We knew it was going to be a short-term thing. I’m just glad he’s in a situation now where he’s got a shot to win a ring.”
Pistons coach Larry Brown said Wallace probably should not have played because his back was stiff.
Detroit has won three straight after losing its first two games with Wallace.
Bob Sura tied a season high with 14 points for the Hawks, who have lost four of five. Zeljko Rebraca, who went to Atlanta along with Sura and a first-round pick in the Wallace trade, missed the game with a lower back injury.
Detroit reserves Corliss Williamson scored 17 and Mike James, acquired from Boston in the Wallace trade, had 13 points and seven assists. Ben Wallace had 11 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks, and Tayshaun Prince added 11 points.
The Pistons were coming off a 19-point win at Chicago.
“Against teams you’re supposed to beat, we did what you’re supposed to do,” Williamson said.
In the first, the Pistons scored more points (38) than they had in any quarter this season. They led by as much as 30 in the second quarter and 32 in the third.
The game was so lopsided the crowd started chanting “Dar-ko! Dar-ko!” midway through the third.
Darko Milicic, the second pick in the draft, played a season-high 12 minutes in just his 18th appearance. He made two free throws, missed all three of his field goals and grabbed four rebounds. He left the game for a few minutes with a bleeding nose after fouling Jason Terry.
Chris Crawford scored 13 for the Hawks and Terry had 12. Hiram Fuller, who signed a 10-day contract with Atlanta on Friday, had four points and six rebounds.
Detroit’s three perimeter players got off to a great start to lead the Pistons to their highest-scoring quarter. They led 38-21 after Billups scored 11, Hamilton had 10 and Prince added nine.
The Pistons made 10 of their 31 assists in the first half.
“When we’re sharing the ball like that and we have balanced scoring, we’re a tough team to beat,” Hamilton said.
Detroit didn’t relax with its big cushion.
With a 24-0 advantage in fast-break points, the Pistons scored a season-high60 points in the first half and led by 28.
Longtime Pistons scout Will Robinson, 92, was honored during a halftime ceremony and had Detroit’s locker room named after him. … On Jan. 25, theHawks snapped a nine-game losing streak at Detroit with a 91-82 win.