Pistons 100, Knicks 85
On Saturday, he took advantage of an opportunity to take center stage.
Prince made all eight of his shots in the first half, including a pair of 3-pointers, and his 20 points helped the Pistons to an easy 100-85 victory over the short-handed New York Knicks.
“I got a lot of easy buckets out there—some wide-open jumpers and a couple of dunks after I ran the floor on a break,” he said. “This is an unselfish team, and we are always going to look for the guy with the hot hand. Tonight, that was me.”
“We’ve got guys out there playing more minutes than they normally play, and who aren’t used to playing together,” Knicks coach Lenny Wilkens said. “That’s asking a lot, but I want them to learn from it.”
“I’m looking to do a better job of getting my teammates involved,” said Billups, who is averaging 8.1 assists in Detroit’s last 10 games. “I think that I can do that and still find ways to score. This was a good win for us— we knew they were banged-up, and we took advantage of that.”
“Every game is like a playoff game right now, because this is coming down to the wire in the last few games,” Baker said. “We just have to get ready to play and really push it and get the seventh or eighth spot in the East.”
Detroit jumped out to a quick 16-3 lead and never looked back. They scored 32 points in the first quarter and 35 more in the second, giving them their highest-scoring half of the season.
The Pistons led by 19 at the half, shooting 61.9 percent from the floor in the first two periods.
Detroit played a little more defense in the third, outscoring New York 23-18 to increase their lead to 90-67. They led by as many as 27 in the fourth.
The fans began chanting for Darko Milicic with nine minutes to play, and he almost immediately entered the game. The No. 2 pick in last summer’s draft finished the game, but did not score and was called for a defensive three-second technical foul.
“That kid just does some crazy things,” Pistons coach Larry Brown said.“He needs to be out there, but he has to trying so hard to please the fans.”
The game was played on the same day as the Michigan high school finals, which have produced NBA stars like Magic Johnson, Chris Webber and Jalen Rose. Johnson’s alma mater, Lansing Everett, won the Class A title Saturday afternoon. … Hamilton, who had been playing with a facemask to protect his broken nose, started the second half without it, but put it back on at the first timeout. … Rasheed Wallace was in uniform, but spent the entire game on the bench with an electrical-stimulation machine hooked to his back. … DerMarr Johnson started for the first time since the 2001-02 season, when heplayed for Atlanta.