PHILADELPHIA – Rasheed Wallace had 21 points and 11 rebounds, and the Detroit Pistons took advantage of Allen Iverson’s absence to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 97-87 on Tuesday night.

Tayshaun Prince added 25 points and Richard Hamilton scored 16 as Detroit (6-5) led all the way and won its third straight game. Chauncey Billups finished with 11 points and 11 assists.

Iverson, who leads Philadelphia and is third in the NBA in scoring, missed the game after undergoing oral surgery to remove an abscessed wisdom tooth earlier in the day. His status for tonight’s game at Milwaukee is uncertain.

Without Iverson, who leads the NBA in minutes per game (43.4) and is averaging 28.7 points, Philadelphia predictably struggled on offense. His replacement in the starting lineup, Willie Green, led the 76ers with a season-high 24 points while Andre Iguodala added 13. Samuel Dalembert was active inside with eight points and 15 rebounds.

Still, it wasn’t nearly enough. Philadelphia (4-6) shot just 40 percent from the field and missed nine first-half layups, losing for the sixth time in seven games.

After a tight first half, Detroit opened up some breathing room in the third quarter. Hamilton – who had just four points at halftime – hit a pair of 3-pointers and Antonio McDyess followed up his own missed free throw with a layup that gave the Pistons a 73-59 lead with 37 seconds left in the period.

Philadelphia made its final run early in the fourth quarter, as Rodney Carney’s basket trimmed Detroit’s lead to 78-72 with 8:45 left. But Prince followed with a pair of free throws, then drained a 3-pointer as the Pistons built their lead back to double digits, where it remained the rest of the way.

Notes: Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard presented the honorary tip-off before the game. Howard, who led the majors with 58 home runs and 149 RBIs, was selected National League MVP on Monday Detroit has now won nine of its last 10 against the 76ers, including four straight Philadelphia played for the second straight game without former All-Star Chris Webber (lower back stiffness and soreness) and Steven Hunter (right knee sprain). Both players are listed as day-to-day 76ers forward Steven Smith made his NBA debut late in the fourth quarter. Smith played college basketball in Philadelphia at La Salle University.

AP-ES-11-21-06 2131EST



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