59-23, 25-16 Away
40-42, 22-19 Home

Prince leads way as series shifts back to Detroit knotted at 2 apiece

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- A dash of perfection was exactly what Detroit needed to go from the brink of a disastrous deficit to back in control of the series.

All it took was 12 minutes.

Tayshaun Prince scored 23 points and made all but one shot from the field, and the Pistons played with a purpose and dominated the second half to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 93-84 on Sunday night, tying the best-of-seven Eastern Conference playoff series at 2-2.

"Everybody knows that we are good under pressure," said guard Chauncey Billups. "I hate that we put ourselves in this position a lot of times."

Game 5 is Tuesday night at Detroit.

The Pistons squashed all that chatter about heading home with a series deficit, erasing a 10-point halftime deficit by outscoring the 76ers 34-16 in the third quarter.

That combined 4-for-14 first half from Billups and Rasheed Wallace? Forgotten after they drilled consecutive 3-pointers in the period. Prince -- 11-for-12 from the floor -- followed with a baseline layup to cap an 11-0 spurt and give the Pistons their first lead of the game, 47-46.

Wallace, perhaps fired up after he was T'd up in the final seconds of the first half, hit two more 3s that whipped a 14-point deficit all the way around to a 60-53 lead.

"I believe in the guys who are in our locker room," Billups said.

Wallace was 5-for-12 from the field, but sank all three 3s in the third. Billups' 4-for-16 was an afterthought compared to his nine-point, three-assist quarter. Prince was, of course, a perfect 3-for-3.

"Once Sheed got going from the outside, things really started to work in our favor," Prince said.

The Pistons picked up the defensive pressure and forced seven turnovers in the third. Detroit played like the 76ers did in Game 3, with active hands in the lane and pressure up top that rattled the upstart home team.

"The game turned just like that," 76ers coach Maurice Cheeks said. "We gave them life and we gave them life in the third quarter."

The Sixers pumped up the crowd when they played season highlights set to Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'." Then Detroit guaranteed its season won't unexpectedly cut-to-black.

All the euphoria the Sixers created after a 20-point win in Game 3 only grew as they raced to a 14-point first-half lead. The younger, faster, confident Sixers were taking it to the aging, slumping Pistons yet again.

Then the real Pistons showed up in the third quarter, not the ones who tossed in the towel on Friday.

They haven't reached five straight Eastern Conference finals by losing two straight road games to the seventh seed in the first round.

"It doesn't matter what round it is, when you go down 3-1, you put yourselves in a tough situation," Prince said.

Wallace finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Richard Hamilton bounced back from a 1-for-10 first half to finish with 18 points. Billups also scored 18 points.

Antonio McDyess did not start but scored 10 points a day after he had surgery to repair a broken nose. He never thought about sitting out and wore a mask to protect the nose broken in the third quarter of Game 3.

Nothing can protect Andre Iguodala from more criticism about his awful playoff series.

Cheeks was peppered with more questions about the pressing need for the slumping forward to start scoring big baskets. Iguodala showed early promise and made his first three shots, then collapsed again and finished with only 12 points.

Unlike the Pistons stars, Iguodala never got untracked in the second half. He missed 10 of his final 11 shots and misfired on several wild attempts when he tried to seemingly take a 3-1 series lead all by himself.

"We've got to work harder on the game plan and I've got to be shooting better shots," Iguodala said.

Samuel Dalembert had 12 points and 12 rebounds. Andre Miller and Willie Green each scored 13 points.

Iguodala appeared to have ended his slump when he faked Jarvis Hayes, spun away from his fallen defender and buried the jumper for his prettiest bucket of the series. The play was nothing more than a brief flash of his regular-season self and he dropped to 11-for-49 from the floor in the first four games.

"I'm not going to go out and put pressure on him that he has to score 25, 30 points for us to win," Cheeks said.

Rodney Carney drilled a 3 and Miller's layup made it 45-31 for Philly's largest lead of the half.

Wallace, whose jumper early in the first matched his point total for Game 3, screamed at the official after he was called for an offensive foul and was quickly whistled for a technical. Wallace continued to bark at the refs even as his teammates tried to block him out on the bench and prevent a possible ejection.

The Pistons trailed 46-36 at the break, but perhaps the tone was set to take off in the second half.

Game notes
Jason Maxiell started for McDyess. ... Injured Phillies SS Jimmy Rollins was at the game and waved his rally towel. First baseman Ryan Howard sent a videotaped message of support. ... Wallace cracked up when the 76ers showed a "separated at birth" timeout video comparing an open mouth shot of him next to Jimmie Walker's "JJ" character from "Good Times."