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Published: Saturday, 2/23/2008

Billups gets Pistons on track Registers 21 points, 12 assists

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Milwaukee Bucks guard Charlie Bell goes flying after being fouled by Detroit Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace, right. Milwaukee Bucks guard Charlie Bell goes flying after being fouled by Detroit Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace, right.
DARREN HAUCK / AP Enlarge

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - The Milwaukee Bucks got a bad break from the NBA schedule.

Just two days after they upset the Pistons at home, the Bucks had to travel to Auburn Hills and take on that same, angry Detroit team last night. It didn't go well.

The Pistons had their best scoring night for nearly eight years in a 127-100 rout.

"I didn't think we even started to compete until the fourth quarter out there," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said of the loss. "Tonight, we competed the whole way, and it made a huge difference."

Chauncey Billups had 21 points and 12 assists as Detroit put up its biggest point total in regulation since beating Denver 130-116 on March 8, 2000. The Pistons had 16 offensive rebounds and 33 assists.

"They played like they had a chip on their shoulder," Milwaukee coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "We played pretty well defensively in halfcourt sets, but we gave them too many second chances and too many transition baskets. It's like playing Russian roulette if you give that team easy baskets."

Detroit went into the All-Star break with a 10-game winning streak but had lost two straight since returning.

"It's good to get back on track, especially with the West Coast trip starting," Saunders said. "It's going to be a tough game against Phoenix, so we needed to be ready to play."

Rasheed Wallace scored 17 points and Richard Hamilton added 16 for the Pistons, who had six players in double figures.

"This was really a team effort," said Amir Johnson, who scored a season-best 13. "We knew we lost at their house, and we had to come out and make a statement."

Charlie Villanueva and Michael Redd led Milwaukee with 18 points apiece.

"It's embarrassing to lose games by that kind of margin - we know we're better than that," Desmond Mason said. "Playing a team like that back-to-back is tough, because we knew they were going to come out and attack us early."

The Bucks hit 12 straight shots in one first-quarter stretch, but were only able to build a 33-31 lead. Milwaukee then started the second by missing 14 of 17 shots, allowing Detroit to pull away.

The Pistons ended up outscoring Milwaukee 32-11 in the period and had a 65-46 advantage at halftime. On Wednesday, the Bucks had an 28-17 edge in the second.

"Our bench got the best of their bench on Wednesday, and I'm sure they talked about that in their locker room," Krystkowiak said. "When it was our supporting cast against theirs in the second quarter tonight, they just played harder."

Billups had 18 points in the half, including 10-for-12 shooting from the free-throw line.

"Wednesday was a tough day for three quarters, so we realized how hard we had to play against this team," he said. "Today we took care of business right from the jump ball."

Detroit's offense kept rolling in the third, putting up 35 more points and reaching triple figures in the final minute of the quarter.

NOTES: Pistons G Juan Dixon was in uniform, one day after being acquired from Toronto for Primoz Brezec, and entered the game with 3:05 left. The Pistons waived G Flip Murray after the trade, and are expected to sign a post player. ... Desmond Mason and Krystkowiak both picked up technicals for arguing a call with 7:07 left in the third quarter. Wallace hit both free throws, then made both shots for the original foul, giving him a four-point possession and putting Detroit up by 25.



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