Pistons in command for second straight game

Tayshaun Prince scored 25 points to lead Detroit to a 108-87 victory over Chicago  and a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal series.

By The Associated Press
Published May 8, 2007

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - The Pistons punished the Bulls inside and out - again.

Tayshaun Prince scored 25 on an array of mid-range shots, a dunk in traffic and 3-pointers to lead Detroit to a 108-87 victory Monday night and a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal series.

"We haven't had this level of focus in a while, " Prince said. "But now that we are going on the road, it's going to be a lot tougher.

"We haven't done anything. We've just held serve."

Chicago has three days to figure something out after being dominated in consecutive games.

"We just got completely outplayed in Detroit, " said Kirk Hinrich, who didn't make a shot. "We kind of lost our swagger. We need to get our swagger back."

Though Prince led the way, he had plenty of help.

Richard Hamilton scored 24, Chris Webber 22, and Chauncey Billups had 14 points and 10 rebounds. Rasheed Wallace added 10 points.

Chicago's Tyrus Thomas scored 12 of his 18 in the final quarter to prevent the Pistons from winning by 26, as they did in the opener.

Just as in Game 1, Detroit took control with a big run in the first quarter and prevented the Bulls from rallying the rest of the way.

"The thing that is the most surprising is that, in both games, we haven't been very competitive, " Chicago coach Scott Skiles said. "Right from the jump ball, they've owned us."

The Pistons led by 24 early in the second quarter, 23 late in the third and had inside-and-out answers when Thomas helped Chicago pull to 93-80 midway through the fourth.

Detroit dashed Chicago's hopes by responding to the rally with Rasheed Wallace's dunk on Thomas and Billups' 3-pointer to go ahead by 18.

The Bulls made 23 field goals, matching the playoff franchise low they set in Game 1, and hit just over a third of their shots.

The Pistons took an 8-0 after Rasheed Wallace backed down P.J. Brown into the lane, Webber drove past Ben Wallace and Rasheed Wallace dunked - giving them a second three-point play and Brown his second foul.

After Chicago scored seven straight, Webber's 18-footer capped a 14-5 run that gave Detroit a double-digit lead.


CHICAGO (87): Deng 4-12 8-8 16, Brown 0-0 3-4 3, B.Wallace 4-9 5-9 13, Gordon 3-7 5-5 13, Hinrich 0-7 2-4 2, Nocioni 4-10 3-5 12, Duhon 0-4 3-4 3, Sweetney 1-2 0-2 2, Sefolosha 1-2 0-0 3, Thomas 5-9 8-11 18, Allen 1-2 0-0 2, Griffin 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 23-67 37-52 87.

DETROIT (108): Prince 9-20 4-6 25, R.Wallace 4-4 1-1 10, Webber 10-11 2-3 22, Hamilton 9-16 4-4 24, Billups 4-11 3-4 14, Delfino 0-3 1-2 1, Maxiell 2-5 0-2 4, McDyess 2-5 1-1 5, Hunter 1-3 0-0 3, Davis 0-0 0-0 0, Murray 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 41-78 16-23 108.

Chicago 18 25 19 25 - 87

Detroit 34 24 25 25 - 108

3-Point Goals-Chicago 4-20 (Gordon 2-4, Sefolosha 1-2, Nocioni 1-6, B.Wallace 0-1, Duhon 0-3, Hinrich 0-4), Detroit 10-19 (Billups 3-6, Prince 3-7, Hamilton 2-2, R.Wallace 1-1, Hunter 1-2, Delfino 0-1). Fouled Out-R.Wallace. Rebounds-Chicago 43 (B.Wallace 7), Detroit 60 (Hamilton 9). Assists-Chicago 19 (Hinrich 7), Detroit 25 (Billups 10). Total Fouls-Chicago 24, Detroit 36. Technicals-Maxiell. A-22, 076. (22, 076).

Around the league

VAN GUNDY WEIGHS OPTIONS: Frustrated by his team's ouster in the first round, Jeff Van Gundy plans to take some time to evaluate his future as coach of the Rockets.

Houston's season ended Saturday with a Game 7 loss to Utah, and a report in the New York Post the next day said Van Gundy was going to retire.

"I do the same thing every year since I've been coaching - I sit back and I think about what's right for the team and what's right for myself, " Van Gundy said. "This is no different."

Van Gundy has no immediate plans to make a major decision.

BANGED-UP STARS TO PLAY: Tony Parker of the Spurs and Steve Nash of the Suns said they would play tonight in Game 2 of their series. The two collided late in Sunday's game. Nash bled from his nose and had six stitches, covered by a bandage. Parker had a headache Sunday night and a bump on his head, but said he felt fine Monday.

BOBCATS: The team got permission to interview Mavericks assistant Sam Vincent for its coaching job, the Charlotte Observer reported.

JAZZ: Guard Derek Fisher was excused from Game 1 of the West semifinal against Golden State to be with his family. "I've got some personal family things that we're dealing with right now involving one of my children. When the time is appropriate, I'll be able to fully address it, " Fisher said after Monday's shootaround.