Friday, April 30, 2004

Prince leads Pistons past Bucks and into playoffs' second round



The Associated Press

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - The highest-scoring playoff game of Tayshaun Prince's career moved Detroit into a rematch with the team that swept the Pistons out of the playoffs a year ago.

Prince scored 24 points, and Detroit used a strong third quarter to take control in a 91-77 victory over Milwaukee on Thursday to win their first-round series 4-1.

The Pistons face the New Jersey Nets, the two-time defending Eastern Conference champions, on Monday in Game 1 of the conference semifinals.

Detroit took control with a 30-point third quarter after scoring just 39 points in the first half and leading by seven.

Chauncey Billups scored 19, Richard Hamilton had 18, Rasheed Wallace had 10 points and 11 rebounds and Ben Wallace added nine points, 12 rebounds and four blocks.

Milwaukee's Michael Redd scored 22 and Joe Smith had 16. Desmond Mason scored 14 and Keith Van Horn added 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Bucks.

After a sluggish start, Detroit earned its first cushion with a 9-0 run for a 37-28 lead late in the second quarter. An 8-0 run in the third quarter gave Detroit a 49-36 lead, and the Pistons went ahead by 17 before taking a 69-54 lead into the final quarter.

Milwaukee did little more than trade baskets in the fourth quarter and never mounted a comeback.

Last year in the first round, Detroit became just the seventh of 150 NBA teams to win a series after trailing 3-1 when it rallied against Orlando.

MILWAUKEE (77)-D.Mason 6-16 2-2 14, Van Horn 5-10 0-0 11, Smith 6-15 4-4 16, Redd 9-17 4-6 22, Jones 2-6 0-0 5, Knight 1-4 1-2 3, Skinner 1-3 2-2 4, Kukoc 1-7 0-0 2. Totals 31-78 13-16 77.

DETROIT (91)-Prince 11-15 2-4 24, R.Wallace 4-16 3-4 11, B.Wallace 4-7 1-2 9, R.Hamilton 8-17 1-3 18, Billups 8-16 1-1 19, Okur 2-4 4-6 8, Hunter 0-5 0-0 0, James 0-0 0-0 0, Ham 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 38-83 12-20 91.

Milwaukee22102223-77
Detroit24153022-91

3-Point Goals-Milwaukee 2-9 (Jones 1-3, Van Horn 1-3, Redd 0-3), Detroit 3-14 (Billups 2-5, R.Hamilton 1-2, Prince 0-1, R.Wallace 0-3, Hunter 0-3). Fouled out-None. Rebounds-Milwaukee 43 (Van Horn 12), Detroit 60 (B.Wallace 12). Assists-Milwaukee 19 (Jones 6), Detroit 27 (Prince 8). Total fouls-Milwaukee 20, Detroit 16. Technicals-D.Mason. A-22,076 (22,076).

CELTICS: Doc Rivers was hired by Boston Thursday to replace interim coach John Carroll, who was let go a day after the Celtics were swept from the first round of the playoffs by Indiana. Carroll inherited the job when Jim O'Brien quit Jan. 27 because of philosophical differences with Ainge.

"Danny Ainge called me and asked me to coach the Boston Celtics," Rivers said. "If you like basketball, I don't know how you could say no to that."

Rivers went 171-168 in five seasons with Orlando before he was fired in November when the Magic opened the season with one win and 10 consecutive losses.




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