And by shooting better than 60 percent through much of the first half and building the lead to 24 points, the Central Division leaders were in control most of the game.
“We came out and wanted to be aggressive against that team, especially since they like to run and gun,” said Billups, whose point total was a season high. “If you let them get confidence, they can be very dangerous. We came in, and pretty much had it our way offensively.”
Detroit built the lead to double digits in the first half and was never really threatened the rest of the way, although Memphis did get within 105-98 on a three-point play by Gasol with 1:55 left.
Detroit shot 51 percent for the game and committed only eight turnovers. Hamilton was 11-of-16 from the field, while Billups, one of the top free throw shooters in the league, made all 12 of his foul shots.
“We’ve got to get back to our defensive principles, getting back on `D’ every time no matter what,” Lowry said.
“On certain possessions, there are other people wide open already there,” Gay said of the defensive assignments in transition. “That’s not just one person’s fault. It’s the whole team’s fault.”
Detroit led 61-48 at halftime after shooting 59 percent. Billups already had 18 points and eight assists, while Maxiell and Hamilton both had 11 points. The trio combined to shoot 15-of-19 from the field.
Miller was unable to get free with Hamilton shadowing him from the start. The Memphis shooting guard put up only two shots in the first half. Milicic helped offset that with his six early baskets.
“Mike’s a great shooter, so you can’t give him wide open shots,” Hamilton said. “He’s able to create wide open shots. I just tried to chase him, and, luckily, I was able to hold onto him.”
Meanwhile, Memphis wasn’t playing much defense, allowing the Pistons to connect on 14 of their first 21 shots in the opening quarter, building their lead to as many as 15 points. Maxiell and Billups hit all four of their shots in the period. It marked the second straight game Memphis was down by double digits in the opening frame.
“They’re a young ballclub,” Billups said. “I’m not going to say they are lacking (desire). They’re definitely lacking some leadership.
“(They’re) playing against a team that has been together for a long time with a lot of veterans. I think it was probably more us being together for a long time than them not being ready.”
Midway through the second quarter, the Pistons were shooting 65 percent for the game, and had built the lead to 24 points, their biggest of the night.
Maxiell would add his fifth basket late in the second quarter, and when he was through dunking, Milicic and Gasol were pointing at each other about who was supposed to be guarding him.
“Pau and I just couldn’t connect tonight,” Milicic said. “We weren’t sure who was covering who.”
Milicic was the Pistons’ first-round pick and second overall in the 2003 draft. … Pistons F Rasheed Wallace did not start for the first time in the 19 games he’s played this season. There was no official reason other than Wallace was not feeling well and didn’t participate in the shootaround earlier Tuesday. Maxiell, the third-year player out of Cincinnati, started in his place. Wallace ended up playing 30 minutes and scoring eight points, although he was 3-of-11 from the field. … The 37 points were a season high in the first quarter for Detroit. … Billups’ previous high this season was 27 points against Chicago last Friday. … First-year Memphis coach Marc Iavaroni drew a technical foul late in the game, his first of the season. … All seven of the Pistons’ wins in the last eight games have been by more than 10 points. Detroit is 10-0 when surpassing 100 points.