AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - After one quarter Wednesday night, the Detroit Pistons appeared to be heading for a seventh straight loss.
Trailing the Milwaukee Bucks 33-20, the Pistons fell back on the one thing they know they can count on — All-Star center Ben Wallace.
Wallace finished with 11 points, 15 rebounds and eight blocks as the Pistons came back to post a 102-98 victory.
“We weren’t making shots and we weren’t executing, so we knew we had to get up in people and play defense,” Wallace said. “That’s the way this team has to play. We have to start like that and we have to finish like that.”
The Pistons also got a strong game from their backcourt as they won for the first time since Feb. 2. Richard Hamilton led Detroit with 23 points and Chauncey Billups added 20.
“This is a great win for us,” Billups said. “We got down 13 early, but we didn’t go away. This doesn’t erase the last six games, but it starts the process of getting ourselves going again.”
Milwaukee, still playing without new acquisition Keith Van Horn (family issues), lost its seventh in a row on the road. Michael Redd led the Bucks with 23 points and Desmond Mason added 20.
“It got close at the end, but it turned into a situation where they just outplayed us,” Mason said. “There were just a lot of things we did tonight that cost us the game. It was definitely uncharacteristic of this team, and it definitely hurt us.”
The Pistons started their rally in the second quarter, outscoring Milwaukee 30-14 to take a 50-47 halftime lead. Corliss Williamson scored nine of his 15 points in the quarter to lead Detroit’s rally.
“Our bench group really gave us some energy in that second quarter,” Pistons coach Larry Brown said. “The other key was that we had three turnovers in the first half and they had 15. That kept us in the game.”
Milwaukee turned the ball over nine times in the period, leading to 11 Detroit points.
“We really lost this game in the second quarter,” Bucks coach Terry Porter said. “They turned it up on us, and we had no poise. We turned it over and we didn’t execute, and that put us into a situation that made it tough to get back.”
Detroit broke the game open with a 20-4 run to take a 76-61 lead after three quarters. Hamilton had 13 points during the streak.
“We’re still confident, and we knew we could get this win at home,” he said. “It’s like when you miss a bunch of shots — as soon as one goes in, you know you are going to make the next one.”
Detroit outscored Milwaukee 56-28 in the second and third quarters, and the Bucks never got closer than seven until the final minute.
Notes: Detroit missed nine of 13 first-half free throw attempts. ... Milwaukee’s 33 first-quarter points matched the most allowed by Detroit in any period this season. ... Bob Sura was called for a flagrant foul for knocking down Mason on a fourth-quarter drive, and Damon Jones was ejected later in the period after getting two technicals for arguing a foul call.
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