AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP)—The Detroit Pistons seem to be returning to championship form.
“We’ve made some strides,” Ben Wallace said. “We want to get back to where we were last year, and we’re getting there.”
All Detroit’s starters scored in double figures as the Pistons picked up their second lopsided victory in three games. Detroit beat the Los Angeles Lakers 103-81 on Thursday in a rematch of the NBA Finals.
“We were just great tonight, two days after playing so well against the Lakers,” Pistons coach Larry Brown said.
Tayshaun Prince scored 16 points and matched a career-high with seven assists for the Pistons, who finished with a season-best 33 assists. The previous high was 30 against the Lakers.
“We just have so many unselfish players,” Billups said. “We don’t care who scores, as long as someone does.”
Billups and Hamilton were passed over for the All-Star game in favor of Washington’s Gilbert Arenas, but Billups said that wasn’t his motivation on Saturday.
“I was thinking that we might have to play this team again down the line,” he said. “So we wanted to establish something tonight. I’m not upset about Gilbert. He’s a great player and he deserves to go.”
Brown agreed about Arenas’ credentials, but still sounded disappointed that his guards didn’t get picked for the league’s showcase game.
“When Larry Hughes is playing, they have a special backcourt,” he said. “But ours won us a championship.”
Arenas led Washington with 24 points, and was amazed by Detroit’s performance.
“At one point, I turned to Chauncey and asked if they were ever going to miss a shot,” Arenas said.
Antwan Jamison, another All-Star, scored 14 points for the Wizards, who had their four-game winning streak snapped.
“This is why they have a championship,” Jamison said. “You get by one guy, and they have two more coming at you. It’s an incredible defense, and we could learn a lot from them.”
Detroit held a narrow lead early and scored the last 14 points of the second quarter for a 53-36 halftime lead. Billups scored five points in the run and joined Hamilton with 14 first-half points.
Washington closed within eight points early in the third quarter before the Pistons extended their lead to 22 in the period. Wallace and Billups each scored seven points in the quarter.
“They know when they have momentum on their side and they feed off it,” Wizards coach Eddie Jordan. “They get better and better on both ends of the floor.”
Detroit starters Richard Hamilton, Ben Wallace and Rasheed Wallace once played for Washington. … Ben Wallace didn’t want to talk about Jermaine O’Neal’s recent assertion that Wallace deserved more of the blame for the Nov. 19 brawl between the Pacers and Detroit fans. “I don’t have any comment about that foolishness,” Wallace said. “I’ll talk to him at the All-Star Game.” … Darko Milicic played the final eight minutes and had a career-high seven points. … Hamilton will be honored at Connecticut’s game against North Carolina on Sunday.