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

quarter.

”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

stretch.”

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.

21.

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

Clippers.

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.