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 Prince scores 25 in Pistons win over Raptors

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PostSubject: Prince scores 25 in Pistons win over Raptors   Thu Jan 22, 2009 7:13 pm

AUBURN HILLS, Mich.(AP) Richard Hamilton's
first game as a reserve for the Detroit Pistons was supposed to be the
story of the night.Tayshaun Prince had other plans.Prince
scored 23 of his 25 points in the second and third quarters, helping
the Pistons pull away from the Toronto Raptors in a 95-76 win Wednesday
night.The lanky forward has often been overlooked in his seven
seasons in Detroit, where he has been surrounded by All-Stars. But his
ability to be a shutdown defender and make an array of shots has made
him an unsung contributor."I call him the 'Quiet Assassin'
because he gets the job done quietly,'' teammate Jason Maxiell said.
"People may forget about him, but he gets the job done.''Prince's
chance to excel improved when coach Michael Curry chose to change the
lineup, putting Hamilton on the bench and Amir Johnson at power forward.Those moves led to Prince going back to small forward."That's
his natural position and he's just a really good player,'' said
Toronto's Chris Bosh, who scored 19 points. "It's always tough to match
up with him whether he's at (small forward) or (power forward) because
he's so versatile."He plays great defense, and he was knocking down his jumper today. He did a fantastic job.''In typical fashion, Prince just shrugged off the accolades."When
the opportunities present themselves on offense and you get into a
rhythm, you've got to take advantage of it,'' Prince said. "When you
have so many talented guys that make plays, we tend to go to the guys
in rhythm.''Hamilton struggled to find his groove in his first
game off the bench with the Pistons after starting 611 games for them,
including six straight trips to the Eastern Conference finals and an
NBA title in 2004."It's a new challenge,'' he said.Hamilton
scored seven points in his first game off the bench since Feb. 1, 2002,
when he was playing for the Washington Wizards. The following
offseason, they traded him to Detroit for Jerry Stackhouse."It's
going to take him a little time to get his rhythm, playing in that type
of role,'' Curry said. "But I think he's going to be great in it and I
think we're going to be better because of it.''Toronto is
searching for ways to get better, but has lost seven straight games and
28 overall. Only the Wizards have lost more in the conference."We
need to do a better job of fighting through adversity,'' Raptors coach
Jay Triano said. "I don't know why, but when we get down, we seem to
lose confidence and hang our heads a little.''Andrea Bargnani
scored 16 points for the Raptors and Jermaine O'Neal had 11 points,
playing for just the second time in 13 games. O'Neal has been slowed by
a sore right knee."We didn't move the ball,'' Bosh said. "We were just standing and looking and trying to force things.''Prince led a balanced attack for the Pistons, who won their second in a row after losing five consecutive games.Rodney
Stuckey scored 17 points, Maxiell had season highs in points (16) and
rebounds (11), Iverson scored 11 and reserve Antonio McDyess had 10
points and eight rebounds."Maxiell just worked harder than we did,'' Triano said.The
slumping Raptors got off to a solid start, leading 22-17 after the
first quarter and trailing by three at halftime. Prince scored 11 in
the second quarter as Detroit outscored Toronto by eight.Prince helped the Pistons dominate in the third, scoring 12 points to help them outscore Toronto 30-19.That gave Detroit a cushion big enough to set up an easy fourth quarter in which Prince watched."It
felt good taking the fourth quarter off,'' Prince said. "That's
something we haven't done in a while. Especially being banged-up, it
was nice to have that time off.''The Pistons won by double digits for the first time since Dec. 27, when they beat Milwaukee 87-76.

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