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Archive for Wednesday, May 7, 2003

Pistons win, but lose Billups

May 7, 2003

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— Chauncey Billups' sprained ankle concerned Detroit as much as the Pistons' win over Philadelphia excited them.

Richard Hamilton scored 25 points and Billups had to be helped off the court after his 24th point as top-seeded Detroit beat the fourth-seeded 76ers, 98-87, Tuesday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

"It was tough," Hamilton said. "I ran to him and said, 'You all right?' You could see he was in some pain. Chauncey is a big asset to our team.

"I just got done talking to him in the training room, and said, 'Please tell me you'll be all right for Game 2.' Hopefully he'll be back."

Game 2 is Thursday night at The Palace. Pistons coach Rick Carlisle said he may not know until gameday whether Billups would play.

Philadelphia also has a limping guard.

X-rays were taken of Eric Snow's right foot after the game, and they were negative. Snow, who received treatment on his foot before the contest, will be evaluated again today before practice.

Allen Iverson, who led the league in scoring during the first round, had 27 points on 8-of-21 shooting for the 76ers. He averaged 34.8 points in the first round against Charlotte.

"They played better than us, but we still had a chance to win the basketball game, so we feel good about that," Iverson said.

Detroit was in control for much of the game, but it was never comfortable.

That was especially true when Billups left when he turned his left ankle after shooting a jumper and landing on Snow's foot. His basket gave the Pistons a 77-70 lead with 10:09 left. Billups has scored 101 points in his past three games.

The Sixers scored consecutive baskets to pull within three -- the closest they had been since early in the second quarter -- but Detroit rookie Mehmet Okur scored six straight points to give the Pistons the cushion they needed.

"We got to 77-74 and we self-destructed," 76ers coach Larry Brown said.

The Pistons lost the opening game of the playoffs to Orlando and were forced to rally to be just the seventh team in NBA history to win a series after trailing 3-1.

"We know how important it is to win the first game because we didn't like being at the other end in the last round," Carlisle said. "But we also won the first game last year against Boston and lost the series, so we know how important Game 2 is, too."

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