Prince scores seven of his 20 points in OT

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Since the Detroit Pistons don't have a spectacular scorer, they get the ball to the man of the moment.

The Pistons' Chucky Atkins, who replaced an injured Chauncey Billups in the starting lineup, scored 23 points in the win.
The Pistons' Chucky Atkins, who replaced an injured Chauncey Billups in the starting lineup, scored 23 points in the win.

In Game 2 against Philadelphia, that player was Tayshaun Prince -- again.

Prince, the seldom-used rookie who has thrived in the playoffs,

scored seven straight points at the end of regulation and the start

of overtime as Detroit defeated the 76ers 104-97 Thursday night to

take a 2-0 lead in their second-round series.

"Of course I was surprised,'' Prince said. "But this is a team

that doesn't have a top star on it. Whenever a guy gets going, the

coaches and the guy on the bench say, 'Let's get this guy the

ball.' It's just a matter of who has the good feeling in the game,

and in the overtime and just before overtime, that guy was me.''

Allen Iverson scored 31 points, but with a 92-90 lead and 15.1

seconds left in regulation he missed two free throws to give the

Pistons a chance at an improbable win.

"I take the blame for this one,'' Iverson said. "If I made one

or two free throws, we're going home happy. Put this one on me.''

Detroit's Chauncey Billups missed the game with a sprained ankle

after scoring 101 points in three games. He was replaced by Chucky

Atkins, who had scored just 23 points in eight playoff games.

Atkins matched that total while playing 44 minutes.

Prince, who scored 20 points in Game 7 against Orlando in the

first round, made a difficult spinning 4-footer with 4.3 seconds

left to force overtime. He scored the first five points in the

extra session on a layup and a 3-pointer just before the shot clock


Atkins made a 3-pointer with 2:07 left to give Detroit, which

set an NBA record by going 8-0 in overtime, a 100-93 lead.

Iverson said he was not surprised to see Prince and Atkins play

so well.

"They don't just grab guys off the street and put them on NBA

rosters,'' he said.

The series now moves to Philadelphia for Games 3 and 4 Saturday

and Sunday.

It's safe to say Prince will not be spending as much time on the

bench as he did during most of the regular season and the start of

the playoffs.

The native of Compton, Calif., appeared in just 42 games after

being the 23rd pick in the draft out of Kentucky. He averaged 3.3

points in 10 minutes a game.

Prince didn't play in the opening game of the playoffs against

Orlando, scored two points in Games 2-3 and despite slowing down

Tracy McGrady, didn't play in Game 4.

After Detroit coach Rick Carlisle was criticized for keeping

Prince on the bench, he scored 15 points in Game 5 and 20 points in

Game 7 as the Pistons became the seventh team in NBA history to win

a series after trailing 3-1.

Prince played a career-high 39 minutes Thursday night.

"When you don't play much, there's a hungriness inside of

you,'' Prince said. "You want to bring something to the team.

"At first, it was just defense against Orlando. But now I've

been able to help on the other end.''

Richard Hamilton scored 23 points, Cliff Robinson scored 14 of

his 16 points in the first quarter, Jon Barry had 11 and Ben Wallace had 15 rebounds, seven points and two blocked shots.

Iverson wasn't a one-man team, either.

Kenny Thomas scored 15 points and grabbed a playoff-high 19

rebounds. Eric Snow, playing on an injured right foot, scored 14

points. Derrick Coleman and Aaron McKie each scored 12.

The Sixers came back from a 14-point deficit midway through the

second quarter, and Iverson made two free throws with 1:40 left to

give Philadelphia its first lead since the end of the third

quarter. Snow's jumper on their next possession put Philadelphia

ahead 92-89.

Hamilton made one of two free throws -- continuing Detroit's poor

night at the line as the Pistons missed 14 of 35 attempts. But

Iverson gave Detroit a chance, with each of his attempts hitting

the rim and bouncing out.

The Pistons had no timeouts left, and the ball eventually got to

Prince on the right wing. He backed in against McKie, avoided

Snow's swipe at the ball and twisted his body around before

releasing a soft floater that was all net as the crowd went crazy.

Snow airballed a long 3-pointer at the end of regulation as

Philadelphia could not get the ball into Iverson's hands.

"I was yelling for Allen to shoot more,'' Philadelphia coach

Larry Brown said.

Before Billups was signed as a free agent last summer, Atkins

started 137 games over two seasons and averaged at least 12 points.

Atkins averaged 11.3 points in 10 playoff games last season.

Atkins ran Detroit's offensive effectively in the first quarter,

leading it to a 30-25 lead, and made several key baskets, including

shots in the final seconds of the first and third quarters.

Game notes

Robinson missed six shots after going 6-of-7 in the first

quarter. ... Detroit missed eight of 10 foul shots in the first

half. ... Atkins scored 22 points for his previous playoff-high in

Game 5 of the second round last year against Boston.