Pistons 85, 76ers 69
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP)—As the clock clicked toward zero, Chauncey Billups slowly walked the ball upcourt, crossed the halfcourt line and stood with one arm raised high.
The Palace crowd roared in approval as the Detroit Pistons again made history with their defense.
Detroit held the Philadelphia 76ers scoreless for the final two minutes of a 85-69 win Sunday, extending the NBA record for holding opponents under 70 points to five straight games.
Lindsey Hunter’s steal on Philadelphia’s last possession ensured the 76ers would not reach 70.
“I felt silly at the end, because I had no idea what was going on,” Pistons coach Larry Brown said. “It was Tayshaun (Prince) who told me that they were at 69 with two minutes left, and our guys were trying to stop them. But it is fun. I’m not sure what clicked, but it is working right now.”
The 76ers didn’t have Allen Iverson for the fourth straight game, but it wasn’t because of Iverson’s knee injury this time.
Iverson decided not to play after coach Chris Ford, concerned about his conditioning, told him he’d come off the bench.
“I’m a starter. I’ve been a starter here for eight years. I’m not a sixth man,” Iverson said after the game.
Ford and Iverson have had a rocky relationship since the coach replaced the fired Randy Ayers on Feb. 9.
“I didn’t know he was going to attempt to play until how much time was left on the (pre-game) clock? Not much,” Ford said. “From my understanding and what I was told yesterday after his workout, I’m going to look out for A.I. and the team. Somebody’s got to make decisions around here.”
Ben Wallace anchored Detroit’s defense with eight points, six rebounds, four blocks and two steals.
The Pistons are the first team since the shot clock was implemented in 1954-55 to have a streak of more than two games holding an opponent under 70.
“If it’s in the fourth quarter and we’re in range of keeping a team under 70, then we are going shoot for that,” said Billups, who had 13 points and nine assists. “We take a lot of pride in knowing that (the streak) hasn’t been done before.”
Reserve guard Willie Green, a rookie from Detroit Mercy, scored 17 points for the Sixers, who had a four-game winning streak snapped.
Kenny Thomas scored the first points of the second half on a reverse layup to bring the 76ers within six, 46-40, but they were unable to get closer.
Prince’s three-point play in the third quarter capped a 14-5 run that put the Pistons ahead 66-49.
Layups by Richard Hamilton and Williamson gave Detroit a 46-38 halftime lead.
The Pistons never trailed in the first quarter, but the 76ers went ahead for the first time in the second on Derrick Coleman’s layup that gave them a 24-22 lead.
The Pistons regained the lead shortly thereafter and built it to 40-34 whenBen Wallace swatted away Thomas’ shot and Billups hit a 3-pointer.
The Pistons ended Thomas’ streak of 10 straight double-doubles. He finished with eight points and 10 rebounds. … Prince left the game midway through the third quarter after re-aggravating a shoulder strain that has bothered him recently. He returned later in the quarter. … Brown coached the 76ers the past six seasons. … The teams split the season series 2-2. … Coleman and Marc Jackson both played in their second games since returning from the injured list. … The first 10,000 fans at The Palace were given MehmetOkur bobbleheads.