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Billups Takes Over in Pistons' Clincher

May 17, 2003|From Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — Chauncey Billups' shooting touch was as good as his prediction.

"During the timeout before overtime, I told them, 'I'm about to take this game over,' " said Billups, who scored nine of his 28 points in overtime to lead Detroit to a series-ending 93-89 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night.

The Pistons advanced to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 1991 -- the year after winning their second consecutive NBA title. Detroit will play the defending East champion New Jersey Nets, beginning Sunday afternoon, for the right to go to the NBA Finals.

Billups gave the Pistons a 92-89 lead with 15.2 seconds left in overtime on his third three-point basket of the extra session. He scored Detroit's first six points of overtime on three-pointers.

"I was very, very aggressive in overtime, trying to look for my shot," Billups said. "I turned it on. My mentality changed."

After Allen Iverson missed a driving layup with 10 seconds to go, Chucky Atkins made a free throw to seal it with six seconds left.

The Pistons, who set an NBA record by going 8-0 in overtime games during the regular season, improved to 2-0 in overtime in the playoffs.

"I can't say enough about our team and what they've been able to do," Piston Coach Rick Carlisle said. "We've had injuries, situations, and everybody on our roster has been instrumental to us getting to this point."

Iverson, who was late arriving at the arena because he said he was stuck in a traffic jam, scored 38 points -- including six in the row in overtime to tie the score after Detroit went ahead, 89-83.

Richard Hamilton scored 19 points, Corliss Williamson had 17 and Tayshaun Prince had 14 for the Pistons, who had lost 14 of 15 road playoff games.

"They got it done and we didn't," Iverson said. "We couldn't catch a break and we put ourselves in a bad situation with fouls."

The 76ers had a chance to win it in regulation after Billups made two free throws to tie it at 81-81 with 14.6 seconds left. Iverson brought the ball upcourt but couldn't get a shot off as he was guarded by Prince.

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