Tech bubble: Pistons top Bulls in emotionally charged game

CHICAGO (AP) -- Michael Jordan and a few other old-timers watched

bad blood return to the Detroit-Chicago rivalry on Friday night.

Chauncey Billups scored 17 points and Antonio McDyess tied a

season high with 16 to lift the Pistons to a 95-87 victory over the

Bulls in a game that featured seven technical fouls.

Detroit's Richard Hamilton scored 14 points before being ejected

for picking up his second technical midway through the fourth

quarter, after throwing an elbow toward Chicago's Kirk Hinrich.

Hamilton's first technical came in the third, after he and Hinrich

got tangled while fighting for rebounding position.

The Pistons' Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace and coach Flip

Saunders collected technicals, as did the Bulls' Hinrich and Andres


It felt like a late 1980s/early 1990s Pistons-Bulls game, and

several old-timers were in attendance -- the Bulls' Jordan and John

Paxson and Detroit's Joe Dumars and Bill Laimbeer.

Billups was 4-for-14 from the field, but 8-of-9 from the free

throw line and scored six points in the final 2:10. He also had 12


McDyess shot 8-of-10, while fellow backup Maurice Evans scored

15 points.

After scoring 28 in a victory over Indiana the previous night,

Rasheed Wallace was 1-of-13 and finished with three points. He was

scoreless before hitting a technical free throw just under three

minutes into the fourth quarter that increased Detroit's lead to


Ben Gordon led the Bulls with 24 points, and Nocioni scored all

of his 17 in the third quarter.

After being blown out twice by the Pistons in December,

including their most lopsided loss this season in a 28-point defeat

on Dec. 16, the Bulls stayed in it until the end.

Up 72-70 after three quarters, the Pistons maintained their lead

in the fourth. Chicago pulled within two several times -- the last

when Darius Songaila's basket made it 87-85 with 2:37 left.

But a jumper by Billups and Tayshaun Prince's two free throws

made it 91-85 with 47 seconds left. In between, Tayshaun Prince

blocked a layup by Gordon, and Billups rejected one by Luol Deng to

preserve the lead.

"They tried to beat us off the dribble as much as they can,

which they did," Saunders said. "We closed things down in the

stretch. We had some guys who made some big plays."

The Pistons were ahead 52-45 early in the second when things

really got heated.

Nocioni was initially called for charging into Rasheed Wallace.

The call was reversed, and Wallace, who remained sprawled on the

floor, wound up with a technical and his fourth foul.

Nocioni -- whose basket was waved off, counted and waved off

again -- hit two free throws that cut Detroit's lead to 52-48.

About 1:30 later, Hinrich and Hamilton got their arms tangled

while jockeying for rebounding position under the Pistons' basket.

That led to a double technical and a foul against Hamilton.

"What me and him did was all in the heat of the game,"

Hamilton said. "When you're out there, you're trying to get the

advantage over the guy you're going against. And that's me trying

to get my advantage."

Although he had nothing negative to say about Hinrich, Hamilton

said Bulls coach Scott Skiles talked trash throughout the game.

"I kept hearing someone talking slick from behind me,"

Hamilton said. "I'm like, 'Who is talking to me?' Me and Hinrich

had a little battle going on, but that's all fun and games. I kept

hearing someone behind me, and I turned around and it was him.

"My thing is your job is to coach the team," he continued.

"Your job is not to say stuff to me, and that's what got me

(ticked) off."

Hamilton thought that might have contributed to his second

technical, because the referees were telling him to ignore Skiles.

Skiles would not elaborate on anything he said to Hamilton. But

he had plenty to say about how the Pistons treat the referees.

"They literally complain about every call all night long,"

Skiles said. "They are having a great year doing it. I'm not sure

what that says."

Do they bully officials?

"I would never say that," Skiles said.

Hamilton said he couldn't remember the last time he was tossed.

But he did recall discussing the subject with Rasheed Wallace, who

has collected a technical or two during his career.

The irony wasn't lost on Hamilton.

"I was talking to Rasheed about his technicals," he said.

"And I was looking at mine, and I was like, 'I've only got two

technicals. I feel good.' Now I've got three technicals in the last

two games."

Game Notes
The Pistons cruised to a 92-79 victory in Chicago on Dec.

3, wiping out a 15-point second-quarter deficit, then beat the

Bulls 110-82 in the second meeting of the season. ... Gordon scored

12 points in the first quarter on Friday night, but managed just 12

the rest of the way. ... The Bulls' Tyson Chandler grabbed 11

rebounds, his 13th consecutive game with 10 or more. ... Chicago

veteran Malik Allen hit the first 3-pointer of his career.