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Pistons edge Wizards


WASHINGTON (AP) _ Richard Hamilton scored 22 points, and the Detroit Pistons limited the Washington Wizards to just 33 second-half points in an 87-82 victory Thursday night.

Hamilton starred in Washington for two years before being sent to Detroit in the trade that brought Jerry Stackhouse to the Wizards. In his first game back, Hamilton scored 20 points in the first three quarters, then made two free throws with 2:10 left to cap a 12-2 spurt that put the Pistons up 81-73.

Playing the game was the easiest part of his return.

``When I came in, it was definitely strange because I actually went into the visitor's garage. I'm so used to going to the other garage,'' Hamilton said. ``This feels crazy being in this locker room. I've never even been in here before.''

He found a comfort zone on the court, though, scoring 10 points in the third quarter to get the Pistons back in the game. Detroit trailed 49-41 at halftime but closed to 63-61 after three quarters, then capped the comeback with a tight defensive effort.

Elsewhere in the NBA, Dallas beat New Orleans 83-81, and Seattle defeated Toronto 97-88.

``I thought our defense was solid the whole second half,'' Detroit coach Rick Carlisle said.

But Washington coach Doug Collins had his own take on the game.

``We got stagnant. When we don't move the ball, we stand,'' he said. ``When we do that, we can't win. I must have said it 30 times in the second half: Please move the ball!''

The Wizards finished with as many assists as turnovers: 12.

``We went dead in the water, and when our team does that, I can't get them back,'' Collins said.

Washington closed to 84-82 on two free throws by Michael Jordan with 25.3 seconds left, but Chauncey Billups made a foul shot for the Pistons, and Jordan turned over the ball on the Wizards' next possession.

Jon Barry then made two free throws to seal the victory.

Stackhouse led the Wizards with 24 points. Jordan added 17, but he missed 10 of 17 shots and had four turnovers _ three in the fourth quarter.

``When you look at the stats and look at how the game was played, we outplayed them in every area but turnovers, and I'm the biggest culprit,'' Jordan said. ``I had four turnovers, which is totally uncharacteristic of me. It's one of those games where you just want to hide your head under a pillow.''

Detroit trailed 67-64 with 9:11 remaining before Corliss Williamson scored on a follow and Chucky Atkins hit a 3-pointer. That gave the Pistons their first lead since early in the second quarter.

A baseline jumper by Jordan put Washington back in front, but Clifford Robinson started the pivotal 12-2 run with a 15-footer, and Ben Wallace followed with two foul shots to give Detroit the lead for good.

Hamilton went 10-for-13 at the line and had seven rebounds.

``I thought he played really well,'' Carlisle said. ``His disposition was great throughout the whole game. I thought he played a very mature game tonight.''

Said Hamilton: ``I can't really call it revenge. Let's say we're 1-up on them.''

Mavericks 83, Hornets 81

At New Orleans, Dirk Nowitzki scored 23 points, and the Dallas defense was again good enough to overcome one of the Mavericks' lowest-scoring games of the season.

The Mavericks, who came into the game scoring a league-high average of 103.5 points, shot 37.8 percent and failed to surpass 92 points for the fourth straight game. Dallas has lost only one game during that stretch.

David Wesley had 24 points for New Orleans.

SuperSonics 97, Raptors 88

At Seattle, Gary Payton scored 35 points _ including 10 in row to help Seattle take a comfortable lead _ and the SuperSonics snapped a four-game losing streak.

Voshon Lenard had 27 points for Toronto, still playing without injured Vince Carter and Antonio Davis. Toronto has lost four in a row and eight of its last nine games.
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