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Published: Monday, 11/26/2007

Wallace-less Pistons fall to Jazz

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Deron Williams drives to the hoop against Detroit's Antonio McDyess. Williams had 21 points. Deron Williams drives to the hoop against Detroit's Antonio McDyess. Williams had 21 points.
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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - Carlos Boozer expected things would be good when Deron Williams recovered from a toe injury.

Yesterday afternoon, he found out he was right.

Boozer had 36 points and 11 rebounds, and a full-speed Williams added 21 points and 14 assists as the Utah Jazz beat the Detroit Pistons 103-93.

"There's a lot more of this to come," Boozer said. "When D and I are both 100 percent, we're going to be really tough to beat."

Williams had been playing with the toe problem, but was pain-free when he got to the Palace of Auburn Hills.

"This is the best it has felt in a couple weeks, so I was able to push off it," he said. "Carlos and I have had a lot of success as a combination, and he was great today."

Williams and Pistons all-star Chauncey Billups played together on the U.S. national team over the summer.

"We were teammates and now we got a chance to go at each other on the floor," Williams said. "He's definitely one of the guys in this league that I look up to, and I learned a lot from him this summer."

Billups certainly didn't feel like a mentor yesterday.

"It starts with me and my matchup," he said. "I allowed Deron to get into a comfort zone penetrating into the interior of our defense and coming off pick-and-rolls with Boozer."

Detroit played without Rasheed Wallace (knee) for the second game in a row, then had head coach Flip Saunders ejected after picking up a pair of technicals for arguing with official Marc Davis in the third quarter.

"We never did a good enough job as far as what we needed defensively," said Terry Porter, who took over after Saunders was ejected.

Boozer was 17-for-20 from the floor in his best scoring day this season, helping Utah beat the Pistons for the fifth straight time.

"I always think I can have a big game, but the Pistons really missed Rasheed today," Boozer said. "He's the heart of their defense."

Former Piston Mehmet Okur added 12 points for Utah, while Andrei Kirilenko had 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Antonio McDyess led the Pistons with 19 points and 12 rebounds, and Richard Hamilton added 17 despite fighting flu-like symptoms.

Utah scored the game's first six points, but the Pistons were ahead by the end of the quarter and led by as many as eight in the second.

Boozer had 10 points in Utah's 20-7 run to finish the half, and the Jazz took a 57-50 lead into the intermission. Boozer had 18 points in the half, while Williams had 12 points and 10 assists.

"We know we've been a bad road team, and we are really focused on changing that," Boozer said. "D and I talked during the second quarter, and we decided we needed to break the game open."

The Pistons stayed close for most of the third quarter, but a four-point possession helped by Saunders' ejection let Utah take a 79-69 lead into the fourth.

"At that point, we would have had to play perfect basketball to stay in the game," Billups said.

The Pistons narrowed the gap to 91-87 on Tayshaun Prince's 3-pointer, but Kirilenko's put-back restored the margin to six, and Boozer's layup put the game away.



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