Pistons 100, Kings 94

An experienced lineup of veterans didn’t panic after opening the
season with five straight losses. Nearly two weeks after that awful
start, the Detroit Pistons are on the mend.

Rodney Stuckey scored 17 points and Ben Gordon hit a late 3 that
sent the Pistons over Sacramento 100-94 Sunday, the Kings’ fifth
straight loss.

The Pistons have won four of five since their early slump.

”We thought we could have won all five of those games,” said
Gordon, who had eight points in the fourth quarter. ”Now we’re
finishing games out like we know we can.”

Gordon did his part with his typical clutch shooting in the
fourth. His 3-pointer from the corner put the Pistons ahead 99-94
with 23.9 seconds left. He finished with 16 points despite only
shooting six times.

Gordon made a pair of 3-pointers and all six free throws for
Detroit, which outscored the struggling Kings 25-22 in the fourth

”That’s where I’ve made my money – in the fourth quarter,”
Gordon said. ”On the 3-pointer, Tayshuan (Prince) posted up and my
man went to help and turned his head. That left me open for a split
second and I hit the shot.”

Prince had 12 of his 14 points in the second half for the
Pistons. Richard Hamilton scored 13 points and Charlie Villanueva
added 11. Ben Wallace added 10 rebounds and a big block on Tyreke
Evans’ runner in the lane with 16.6 seconds left.

”We did a great job of coming up with big plays at the end,”
Detroit coach John Kuester said. ”We valued the basketball in the
second half and we ended up with four turnovers (eight in the first
half). That was important, especially down the stretch. We didn’t
give away opportunities. We did some great things down the

Great things have definitely not been happening of late for the
youthful Kings. After opening the season with a surprising 3-1
start, they haven’t won. That includes four straight losses at
home, where they are 1-4 this season. They are in the midst of
playing eight of nine games at home, a stretch that extends to Nov.

Making 2 of 18 3-point attempts against Detroit was a key part
of their latest loss for Sacramento. The Kings have been held under
100 points in the last four games after scoring 100 or more in the
opening five games.

”We had open 3s for really good shots and went 2 of 18.
Sometimes that is the difference in the game in the NBA,” Kings
coach Paul Westphal said. ”You like to think the difference is
always how well you take care of the ball, how well you rebound,
getting to the line more than the other team, and all that stuff.
We didn’t make shots. It was discouraging.”

Evans scored 20 points and Carl Landry had 19 points and eight
rebounds for the Kings. Luther Head added 13 for Sacramento, which
shot 45 percent, but made only 14 of 21 free throws.

After Villanueva’s two free throws gave Detroit a four-point
lead, a driving basket by DeMarcus Cousins pulled the Kings within
94-92 with 1:52 remaining. But Prince answered with a pull-up
jumper in the lane.

Ahead 75-72 to open the fourth quarter, Villanueva made a jumper
and followed with a 3-pointer, putting the Pistons up by eight
points at the 10:17 mark. It had been a quiet first three quarters
for Villanueva, who had just two points after scoring a season-high
30 in Detroit’s overtime win Friday against the Los Angeles

It was a frustrating game for the highly touted Cousins, the
fifth pick in the 2010 draft. He had six points, eight rebounds and
six turnovers. The Kings’ backup center missed several easy
opportunities from close range in the opening half and committed
three fouls and three turnovers in just under nine minutes.

”I can’t control the refs,” said Cousins, who had four fouls
and looked tentative for much of the game. ”If I get the calls, I
get them. If I don’t I just try to play through it, that’s
basketball. That’s the way it is.”

NOTES: Cousins drew a technical foul following an offensive foul
in the second quarter. … Beno Udrih, the Kings’ second-leading
scorer, had no points in the first half. He finished with five. …
Detroit attempted only one 3-pointer in the first half and finished
3 of 9.