AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP)—The Detroit Pistons didn’t stay in a slump for long.
In the first game since their undefeated start ended with an embarrassing 37-point loss in Dallas, the Pistons got 19 points from Richard Hamilton and snapped the Denver Nuggets’ four-game winning streak with a 114-89 victory Wednesday night.
“We wanted to get back to playing Pistons basketball,” said Chauncey Billups, who added 16 points and 11 assists. “We got caught up in the wrong tempo in Dallas, but tonight we played our game.”
Detroit had seven players in double figures and set a season high for assists.
“To have 36 assists on 43 baskets shows that we are playing team basketball,” Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. “We aren’t as good as we looked tonight, and we aren’t as bad as we looked in Dallas.”
The 9-1 Pistons impressed Denver coach George Karl.
“That team doesn’t care who plays well—they have seven or eight guys who are committed to playing team basketball,” he said. “They are the best passing team I’ve seen this year, and their transition game is much better than last year.”
“I think everyone is getting confidence in Mo,” Saunders said. “He makes spectacular plays at both ends of the court. It’s just the basic ones that he needs to work on. That’s the frustrating part.”
“That’s a great team, but you can’t let any team get a big lead in their own building,” Camby said. “This was a good measuring stick for us. We can take this game and see where we are.”
Detroit never trailed and took control of the game in the second quarter. The Pistons led by as many as 19 points in the period before taking a 60-43 advantage into halftime.
The Pistons shot 60 percent (12-of-20) in the second quarter and held the Nuggets to 35 percent (7-of-20). Hamilton led Detroit with seven points in the period, while Evans added six.
Prince also held Anthony to 4-of-15 shooting, but didn’t want the credit.
“That didn’t have anything to do with me,” he said. “Every time he penetrated, Ben and Rasheed were waiting for him. I think that is what bothered him.”
The Pistons led by as many as 31 down the stretch.
The game was delayed briefly with 1:32 to play after Francisco Elson appeared to get woozy after being accidentally hit in the face by Carlos Delfino. Elson was helped to the bench and was checked out by paramedics and members of both training staffs before walking to the locker room under his own power with what Karl described as a “mild concussion.”
“I don’t think there’s anything other than a hard hit to the head,” Karl said. “He had trouble getting his equilibrium back, but I think he’s going to be fine.”
Kenyon Martin (knee) played for only the second time in seven games, scoring 10 points in 21 minutes. … Denver wore its white home uniforms as the Pistons debuted a new red alternate jersey. … Anthony picked up a third-quarter technical for arguing a call, while Elson and Darko Milicic each got technicals after a brief fourth-quarter scuffle. … The Pistons sold out their 89th straight home game despite an early season snowstorm that hit Detroit late Wednesday morning.