EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Richard Hamilton scored 30 points and Detroit tied a team season high with 10 3-pointers in a 93-83 win over the New Jersey Nets on Wednesday night.

The win allowed Detroit (11-2) to maintain the best record in the NBA this season, one-half game ahead of San Antonio (11-3), which was idle Wednesday.

Hamilton’s 3-pointer gave the Pistons an 87-78 lead, their biggest of the game at the time. It came after a missed shot by Tayshaun Prince that New Jersey’s Jason Collins fumbled out of bounds.

Chauncy Billups sank another 3-pointer after a basket by the Nets’ Vince Carter to extend the lead to 90-80.

Billups scored 20 points for Detroit and Prince added 17. The Pistons’ starters scored 87 of the team’s 93 points.

Carter led the Nets with 27 points. Richard Jefferson added 20 for New Jersey, which was playing its first game at home after a five-game West Coast trip.

After holding Los Angeles and Denver to 34 percent and 38 percent, respectively, in its last two games, New Jersey couldn’t find an answer for Hamilton (10-for-14) and the rest of the Pistons, who shot 33-for-73 (45 percent) as a team.

Detroit erased a six-point deficit in the third quarter with a 16-5 run fueled by Hamilton and Rasheed Wallace, who combined for 9 points. An alley-oop dunk by Ben Wallace put the Pistons ahead 59-57, their first lead since early in the second quarter. With Carter on the bench after picking up his fourth foul late in the third quarter, Detroit maintained a lead between four and eight points midway through final period.

New Jersey missed 10 of its first 11 shots of the game and twice fell behind by 12 points early. In the second quarter, Carter brought the Nets back from a 30-25 deficit with four straight baskets in the lane, including a drive on which he drove straight at Detroit’s Darko Milicic and somehow scooped a left-handed shot around and behind the 7-footer.

Carter was 7-for-14 from the field in the first half for 14 points, and he, Nenad Kristic (10) and Jefferson (11) combined for 35 of the Nets’ 45 points at halftime.

Hamilton led the Pistons with 14 points on 5-for-8 shooting. Billups, a 41 percent 3-point shooter this season, missed 4 of his 5 attempts from behind the arc in the first half.

Notes: The game was Jefferson’s first against the Pistons since he injured his wrist last December on a hard foul by Billups and wound up missing three months. “What’s there to say?” Jefferson said before the game. “I could say some stuff and give you something to write about, but I’d rather hurt him where it hurts them most, on the court.” … The Nets’ next win will be the 1,000th in franchise history

AP-ES-11-30-05 2156EST


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