AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) – Chauncey Billups scored 17 of his 25 points in the third quarter to help the Detroit Pistons improve to 7-0 with a 115-100 come-from-behind victory over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night.

The Pistons overcame a 13-point deficit in the second half to record the third-best start in team history, trailing 1970-71 (9-0) and the championship team of 1988-89 (8-0).

Detroit, which outscored Boston 67-42 in the second half, also got 25 points from Richard Hamilton and 20 points and 14 rebounds from Rasheed Wallace.

Ricky Davis led the Celtics with 31 points and Paul Pierce added 23.

Boston used runs of nine and 12 points in the first half to take a 58-48 lead at halftime. Davis finished with 22 points in the first two quarters on 10-of-13 shooting, while the Celtics shot 67 percent (26-for-39) as a team.

The Celtics led 65-52 early in the third, but Billups had 10 points in a 14-4 run that pulled Detroit to 73-72 late in the period.

Pierce scored the next five points, but Billups answered with five of his own before Pierce ended the duel with a 3-pointer just before the buzzer. That gave him 15 in the period, and put Boston up 81-77 going into the fourth.

Detroit then scored the first seven points of the fourth to take an 84-81 edge. The last two points came after Dan Dickau was called for a flagrant foul after hitting Hamilton in the face and knocking off his mask.

The Pistons finished with 38 points in the fourth.

Notes: Boston’s 58 points in the first half were six more than any team had scored against the Pistons in a half this season. … Darko Milicic got some rare early action, scoring two points in four first-half minutes. He struggled badly guarding Al Jefferson and was replaced by Antonio McDyess. … Tayshaun Prince held Pierce scoreless until the final five minutes of the first half. Pierce said last week that he did not think Prince was a “great defender.”

AP-ES-11-15-05 2206EST


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