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Pistons Pounce Timberwolves 106-82

December 29, 2002

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) _ Richard Hamilton scored 24 points, and Chauncey Billups added 21 against his former team as the Detroit Pistons routed the Minnesota Timberwolves 106-82 on Saturday night.

Mehmet Okur had a career-high 15 points and Ben Wallace added 10 points and 17 rebounds for the Pistons, who improved to 8-3 against the Western Conference _ best of any Eastern Conference team.

Kevin Garnett led Minnesota with 20 points and 13 rebounds, while Marc Jackson added 17 off the bench as the Timberwolves lost for the third time in five games.

Detroit led 54-44 at the half, thanks to 13 points from Hamilton and 10 and eight rebounds from Wallace.

Billups, who played in Minnesota for two seasons before coming to Detroit as a free agent in July, scored the first six points in a 13-2 run that boosted the Pistons’ lead to 77-56 late in the third. Hamilton scored four points and Michael Curry hit a 3-pointer in the run.

Garnett scored the next five points, but the Pistons still led 79-61 at the end of the third quarter. Billups finished with 11 in the period.

Detroit led by as many as 28 in the fourth. and cruised to a win.

Notes: The game was the 1,000th of Rod Strickland’s NBA career. ... The game was sold out, thanks to a giveaway of Ben Wallace talking bobbleheads. ... Detroit has won two straight against Minnesota after losing eight in a row. ... Zeljko Rebraca missed his third straight game with an irregular heartbeat. The Pistons hope to have him back for Monday’s game against Portland. ... Garnett and Cliff Robinson each picked up technicals in the third quarter, while Jackson and Corliss Williamson were called for double-technicals early in the fourth.

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