NBA Basketball: Detroit Pistons at Seattle Sonics - Pistons Favored
The Pistons look to improve to 3-0 on their Western Conference swing when they visit the Seattle SuperSonics on Tuesday.
Detroit (39-22) has won seven of its last eight road games, and is one of only three teams in the NBA with a higher winning percentage on the road than at home. The Pistons' 20-10 record away from home is the best among Eastern Conference clubs.
The Sonics, though, have won five straight at home, outscoring opponents by an average of 14.6 points per game during their longest home win streak since opening the 2004-05 season 9-0 at Key Arena. Seattle (25-38) is 8-5 at home this season against teams from the East.
The Pistons head to Seattle on the heels of big wins at Denver and Los Angeles. In Sunday's 98-80 win over the Clippers, Richard Hamilton led the Pistons with 23 points and shot 10-for-12 from the field as Detroit shot 54.2 percent as a team - its fourth-best performance of the season.
"We just play as a unit, and whoever's rolling we just try to keep him going," said Chauncey Billups, who added 17 points and 12 assists. "Rip was great. He's our main option and he kept us afloat early."
The Pistons were without Rasheed Wallace, who served a one-game league suspension after receiving his 16th technical of the season in Detroit's win over Denver on Friday. Wallace, who is averaging 16.4 points and 7.4 rebounds against Seattle since joining the Pistons in 2003-04, will return for Tuesday's matchup.
Seattle suffered its third straight loss, 120-119 in overtime to Toronto on Sunday, despite 36 points from Ray Allen.
Allen is averaging 29.0 points per game during Seattle's losing skid, with two of the defeats coming by three points or fewer. The Sonics lost 92-89 at Philadelphia last Wednesday.
"Our biggest obstacle all season has been winning games late," said Earl Watson, who went 3-for-15 from the field Sunday.
Rashard Lewis, averaging 21.8 points and 7.2 rebounds since returning from a hand injury in February, added 26 points and 13 rebounds Sunday, but Seattle blew an eight-point fourth-quarter lead.
"I think we got away from our game plan, what worked for us early, and that cost us the game," Sonics forward Chris Wilcox said. "There were a couple of plays that could have went our way but they didn't. We just have to put it behind us and keep playing."
Detroit has won four in a row against Seattle, including a 97-93 victory at home Dec. 17 in the teams other meeting this season. Seattle shot 50 percent from the field in that game, but the Pistons used 26 offensive rebounds and a 54-32 overall rebounding edge to help them pull out the win.
By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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