Sheed-Less Pistons Heavy Public Favorites to Blast Sonics

Team Page: Seattle :: Detroit

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With Ray Allen injured, the Seattle SuperSonics are lacking confidence. Rasheed Wallace's absence, meanwhile, hasn't slowed down the Detroit Pistons.

The Pistons, who are expected to be without Wallace for a second straight game, look to continue their recent success against the struggling SuperSonics when they meet Sunday.

With Wallace out with a sore right ankle, Detroit (14-8) beat New Jersey 90-82 on Saturday night for its eighth win in 11 games.

Wallace, who is averaging 13.5 points and 9.3 rebounds, is also expected to miss this game, but Pistons guards Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton will try to carry the offense like they did Saturday.

Billups had 27 points, 11 assists and two of his five steals late to lead Detroit. Richard Hamilton added 26 points and hit a go-ahead 15-foot jumper to break an 82-all tie with 1:35 to play before Billups banked in a shot and scored on a fastbreak.

``With three or four minutes left in the game, we just feel great about our chances,'' Billups said. ``If the shots didn't go in that's fine, but that's a situation we like.''

Hamilton, who leads Detroit with 21.5 points per game, topped 20 for the first time in four games. Billups, meanwhile, is averaging 28.6 points during his best three-game scoring stretch of the season.

Detroit, which went 3-1 on its road trip, returns home to face a Seattle (10-14) team it has been successful against lately. The Pistons have won three straight against the Sonics since a 95-87 loss on March 4, 2005.

Seattle has lost the first three games of a five-game road trip after winning its first three after Allen suffered a bruised bone in his right foot. Allen, who leads the team with 25.3 points per contest, isn't traveling with the team but is expected to be back on the floor in a week.

``I just think our team's at a point right now where we've had so many injuries and our schedule has been so difficult that they just don't believe they can win,'' Sonics coach Bob Hill said. ``We miss Ray Allen. ... We have a lot of young players, and I think we have to get our confidence back and start to believe we can win.''

Seattle has lost four straight on the road, where it is 4-8, and is in danger of losing four straight overall for the first time this season.

``It's a matter of coming out and playing hard and wanting it - with our without Ray.'' Sonics forward Damien Wilkins said.

Seattle shot 36 percent in a 106-84 loss to Cleveland on Friday night.

Rookie Mickael Gelabale was a bright spot for the Sonics, scoring a season-high 16 and grabbing eight boards. He has scored 16 in each of his last two games as his playing time has increased with Allen out.

Also, Sonics rookie Andreas Glyniadakis made his first career start and scored four points in 11 minutes. Glyniadakis, who was the last pick of the 2003 draft and selected by the Pistons, played just 34 minutes all season going into the game.

By: Marc Young - - Email Us

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