Detroit's Prince leads balanced attack in rout of Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The Detroit Pistons think they are starting to put it together.

Tayshaun Prince scored 20 points and the Pistons put away the Milwaukee Bucks early in a 117-91 victory on Saturday night.

"Right now, we're operating on all cylinders," Detroit coach Flip Saunders said. "The last two weeks we've been playing like we did tonight."

Chauncey Billups added 18 points and nine assists, Rasheed Wallace had 15 points and 10 rebounds, and reserve Jason Maxiell scored 13 points.

Detroit led by six after the first quarter, 14 at the half, 19 after the third and coasted the rest of the way as both coaches turned the game over to the reserves in the final period.

"We had a lot of things go well for us tonight," Richard Hamilton said.

Bobby Simmons and Charlie Villanueva led the Bucks with 13 points, but those came with the game already decided. Michael Redd scored 11 points and Andrew Bogut and Mo Williams added 10 apiece for the Bucks, who played their fourth game in five nights and lost their fourth straight.

After the game, the Bucks players and coaches held a closed door meeting to try and figure out how to keep the season from snowballing out of control.

"You've got to keep it real," Redd said of the discussion. "You've got to be honest. It was necessary."

Detroit hadn't played since its 109-74 rout of the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, a game in which LeBron James did not return after spraining his finger in the second quarter.

The Bucks had hoped to shake off a stinging 91-88 loss at New York on Friday in which they blew a 17-point second-half lead, despite an injury to Knicks point guard Stephon Marbury.

Milwaukee might have been tired and discouraged after the road game against the Knicks, but Detroit wasn't taking anything for granted.

"To our credit, we jumped on them," Saunders said. "We tried not to let them get going, and just limit their touches and pressure them a little bit."

The Bucks had seven turnovers in the third quarter, including two to start the period which effectively kept the momentum on the Pistons' side.

"We're kind of in the middle of a downturn, no doubt," Bucks coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "We've gotten away from a lot of the things we've been preaching and believing in."

With four Detroit starters already resting, Maxiell blocked two shots and Antonio McDyess one to set up Arron Afflalo's basket that gave the Pistons a 98-76 lead midway through the fourth. That was enough for Saunders, who finished clearing the bench when he pulled the last starter, McDyess.

Wallace's dunk with 5:29 left in the third answered Redd's layup that pulled the Bucks within 11, but that was as close as Milwaukee got. The Pistons closed out the quarter with a 19-10 run, capped by Prince's 3-pointer that gave them a commanding 84-65 lead entering the final quarter.

"Our defense was great from the start of the game," Prince said.

Double personal fouls and double technicals were called on Desmond Mason and Hamilton late in the third as the two jostled under the Detroit basket. Detroit got the ball and Billups immediately hit an open 3-pointer for a 17-point lead.

The Bucks outshot the Pistons and held their own in the paint, but Detroit controlled just about everything else and led 56-42 at the half.

Flip Murray scored 16 points in the fourth quarter to keep the Pistons safely ahead.

The Bucks outshot the Pistons, 49 percent to 43. Milwaukee had eight more points in the paint than Detroit's 18, but it wasn't nearly enough.

Game notes
Sen. Herb Kohl, owner of the Bucks, popped into the pregame media session with Krystkowiak. After chatting about his team with the reporters, he met privately with Krystkowiak. ... Bucks C Dan Gadzuric left with a bloody nose in the first quarter and did not return. ... The victory gave the Pistons a four-game winning streak against Milwaukee. ... The Bucks had 25 assists against the Pistons after their season-low 12 in the loss to New York.