Rasheed Wallaces scores 24, Hamilton gets 22 for Pistons

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Rasheed Wallace helped Detroit to back-to-back wins over the Cleveland Cavaliers, and he had a few laughs at their expense.

Wallace scored 24 points and Richard Hamilton added 22 to lead the Pistons to an 84-72 win Monday night, their sixth straight.

Wallace made four 3-pointers a night after he split open Zydrunas Ilgauskas' head with an elbow during Detroit's 90-78 home win. He was fined $5,000 by the NBA on Monday for the flagrant foul.

The two tangled again in the rematch, but Wallace simply laughed when Ilgauskas shoved him to the floor in the second quarter.

"I guess that was his wannabe retaliation," Wallace said. "I started laughing and got a [technical foul] for that."

It was one of five technicals called against the Pistons, who complained all night about the officiating.

"We get three, four, five technicals, but all we do is win. And that's the ultimate spit in the face," Wallace said.

Cavaliers fans booed Wallace loudly during the pre-game introductions and nearly every time he touched the ball. One sign read, "Rasheed Must Bleed!"

But the result was the same, another 12-point loss in which the Cavaliers were outhustled, allowing the Pistons too many second chances on offense in losing their fourth in a row.

"They both hurt," Cavaliers forward Drew Gooden said. "The feeling I had yesterday was the same one I have today."

LeBron James led Cleveland with 26 points and Ilgauskas, playing with five stitches in his head, scored 18 and had 15 rebounds.

Chauncey Billups added 15 points and 12 assists for Detroit. Ben Wallace was scoreless but had 12 rebounds and helped keep James from making easy trips to the rim.

The Cavaliers took their first lead of the second half on James' fast-break dunk with 5:03 left in the third period. He followed with two jumpers to push the margin to 60-56 on an 8-0 run.

But the Pistons reclaimed the lead early in the fourth quarter with an 11-4 run keyed by Maurice Evans and Hamilton that made it 73-67.

Detroit held Cleveland to nine points in the fourth quarter, tying a Cavaliers season low.

"They did a great job of executing in the fourth quarter and we didn't," James said.

Hamilton hit three jumpers in the closing minutes to seal the win.

Tensions nearly boiled over when Ilgauskas pushed Rasheed Wallace to the floor with 5:47 to play in the second period. Wallace got up laughing and both got technicals.

A few plays later, Wallace chuckled at officials again for whistling him on James' driving lay up. The Detroit player held his jersey out so the officials could see his number and smiled.

Pistons coach Flip Saunders was unhappy with the officiating but didn't join his team in getting a technical.

"My mom told me before the game whatever you do don't get a technical," said Saunders, a native of suburban Cuyahoga Heights whose parents were in the crowd. "The way things were going in the first half I really had to bite my lip."

James, who was booed by his home fans after missing his last seven free throws in Friday's loss to Washington, was 8-of-10 from the line. He struggled from the floor, shooting 9-for-22 and played all but 1:26.

"I don't feel fatigued at all," James said. "I can go out and play 48 minutes if they want me to."

Cleveland played just eight players and got no help from its bench. Damon Jones shot 0-for-5 and Donyell Marshall was 1-for-6.

Detroit led 44-42 at the half, led by Rasheed Wallace's 16 points. Ilgauskas led Cleveland with 14, many on tip-ins of his teammates' errant shots.

"The satisfying thing about this game is it puts us 16 games up over our next closest team in the division with 26 to go," Saunders said. "That's pretty good."

Game notes
G Ronald Murray started in place of G Sasha Pavlovic in just his third game since being acquired by the Cavaliers in a trade with Seattle on Thursday. He had just eight points on
2-for-12 shooting after scoring 17 points off the bench Sunday. ...
The Cavaliers are 1-2 against the Pistons, their win coming Dec. 31
in G Larry Hughes' last game before undergoing surgery on his
broken finger. ... Cleveland is 14-15 in Hughes' absence.