AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP)—Rasheed Wallace was looking for a little revenge Saturday night.
Two weeks after the Boston Celtics beat his Detroit Pistons in double overtime, Wallace had seven of his season-high 31 points in the extra period to help Detroit end a three-game losing streak with a 105-99 victory over the Celtics.
“We really needed this one after the game in Boston,” he said. “We couldn’t let them get us twice.”
Detroit guard Richard Hamilton scored 22 points in a career-high 49 minutes after missing the last three games with an ankle injury, but coach Larry Brown missed his eighth straight game while recuperating from hip surgery.
“I am definitely happy to have him back,” Chauncey Billups said. “I didn’t even know if he was going to play or not, but he made the right plays at the right times and made them respect him.”
Boston has lost three straight games. The Celtics had won 11 of their previous 12 games since getting Antoine Walker in a Feb. 24 trade with Atlanta.
“We played well tonight, we just lost the game,” said Boston coach Doc Rivers. “Give them credit—they made the big shots down the stretch. That’s what champions do.”
Boston now trails Detroit by 5 1/2 games for the Eastern Conference’s second seed.
“It’s too late in the season to be losing like this,” Celtics guard Gary Payton said. “We can go from third seed to sixth or seventh in a hurry.”
Both teams had a chance to win after Walker banked in a shot that tied the game at 88 with 17.5 seconds left in regulation.
Hamilton missed with 5 seconds left, and Boston grabbed the rebound. The Celtics called timeout, but Walker’s 25-footer bounced off the rim at the buzzer.
Detroit scored the first four points of overtime, but Paul Pierce kept the Celtics alive with eight points in less than two minutes.
Detroit led 98-96 with 1:05 to go, but Pierce answered with his second 3-pointer of the extra session.
Two Wallace free throws made it 100-99 Detroit, and after Walker missed, Wallace iced the game with a 3-pointer.
“He’s unbelievable,” said Pistons interim coach Gar Heard. “When he wants to be, he can be the best player in the league.”
Wallace wasn’t willing to agree with his temporary coach.
“I’m not the type of person to pat myself on the back,” he said. “I was just taking what the defense gave me.”
Pierce led Boston with 32, including all 11 of the Celtics’ points in overtime.
“We have to look at all the mental lapses tonight that hurt us,” he said. “Those are the things we need to clean up.”
Billups’ buzzer-beating 3-pointer gave the Pistons a 50-48 lead at the half. Wallace had 17 in the half, while Pierce had 13 for Boston.
Boston, though, dominated early in the third quarter and pulled out to a 65-58 advantage. The Pistons were obviously frustrated, as Rasheed Wallace, Ben Wallace and Hamilton all picked up technicals for arguing calls.
The Celtics held a 73-68 lead at the end of the third quarter, but Detroit started the fourth with a 10-2 run to go ahead.
The Pistons extended their lead to five, 86-81, on Rasheed Wallace’s emphatic put-back slam with 3:22 to play, but Boston quickly came back to tie the game on Walker’s three-point play with 1:38 left. ^Notes: As a result of Friday’s bomb threats, the Celtics team bus and equipment bags were inspected by a bomb-sniffing dog when the team arrived at the Palace. … Payton, who played despite a stiff back, is scheduled to have an MRI on Monday. … Brown met with the team about two hours before the game then left the building. … Ben Wallace had a Virginia Union jersey hanging in the Pistons locker room after his alma mater won the Division II championship with a 63-58 victory over Bryant on Saturday. … Pierce holds the Celtics team record with a 13-point overtime period.