For one night, Will Bynum and the Detroit Pistons overcame all their problems.
Bynum's driving layup with 7.4 seconds left in overtime helped the injury-plagued Pistons to a 111-108 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Sunday night. Trailing by 10 at halftime — and with several key players unavailable — Detroit rallied for its third win in 12 games and rebounded from Friday's 21-point home loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
"It was heart," Bynum said. "We want to win. We're not giving up (any) seconds out there on the court despite what the score says. Those are the kind of guys you want to live and die with — the guys that give it their all — and I thought that was the difference."
The Pistons were without guards Richard Hamilton (upset stomach) and Rodney Stuckey (toe). Tracy McGrady started for the second time all season but didn't play after halftime because of a sore groin.
Detroit was also without forward Austin Daye, who is recovering from a strained hamstring.
Bynum, on the other hand, was healthy, and he did a terrific job filling in for Stuckey. He finished with 21 points and nine assists, and his final basket made up for a couple of last-minute miscues that nearly cost Detroit the game.
With the Pistons ahead by three, Bynum's airball from the baseline helped New Orleans score on a fast break. Bynum then lost the ball near midcourt, allowing another fast break that led to David West's two free throws with 15.0 seconds remaining that put the Hornets ahead 108-107.
After a brief scramble, Bynum picked up the ball in the backcourt and went straight to the basket, getting a hard pick from Jason Maxiell along the way and scoring while drawing a foul.
"I thought tonight they had confidence in me and a few other players despite us struggling," Bynum said.
Bynum missed the free throw, and New Orleans called a timeout, but Maxiell tipped away the inbound pass, outfought West for the ball and dunked with 0.5 seconds remaining. The dunk actually gave New Orleans another chance, because the Hornets were able to advance the ball to midcourt following a timeout. But Trevor Ariza's last-ditch 3-pointer didn't come close.
"I watch a lot of games on TV, and had I watched this at home, I'd be wondering how they lost that game," Hornets guard Chris Paul said. "I'm still trying to figure out how we lost this game."
Ben Gordon forced overtime with a 3-pointer with 21.9 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter that tied the game at 100. Paul patiently dribbled the seconds away at the other end, then drove to the baseline and attempted a floater that Tayshaun Prince blocked emphatically to end regulation.
Prince scored 28 points and Gordon added 25 for the Pistons. West scored 32 for the Hornets, and Paul added 23 with 10 assists.
"You've got to give our guys a lot of credit. They never gave up and guys were making plays," Detroit coach John Kuester said. "Very proud of this bunch that played today. It's amazing what happens when you do compete."
Banged up and ineffective for much of the season, the Pistons appeared headed to another defeat when New Orleans scored the last eight points of the second quarter to take a 51-41 halftime lead.
But Detroit answered with three straight 3-pointers to begin the third. Gordon, 0 of 7 from the field in the first half, made two shots from beyond the arc, and Charlie Villanueva added another.
Maxiell and forward DaJuan Summers didn't play at all in the first half for Detroit, but with the ranks thin, they ended up in the game together in the third quarter. Detroit trailed by three after Summers dunked off a pass from Maxiell, and although the Hornets built the lead back up to nine, a 3-pointer by Gordon to end the quarter made it 78-72.
The Pistons took the lead when Gordon's three-point play capped a 10-3 run to start the fourth.
"We gave up 59 points in the second half, and that doesn't count overtime," New Orleans coach Monty Williams said. "We just didn't guard the ball. We kept giving them open 3-point shots when that was all they could hit."
Notes: Detroit F Jonas Jerebko (partially ruptured right Achilles' tendon) was on the court taking flat-footed shots from just inside the free throw line before the game. ... Pistons C Ben Wallace played his 999th game. He shot an airball on a free throw in the third quarter. ... Detroit's NBA, NFL and NHL teams all went to overtime Sunday. The Red Wings, who are having by far the best season of the three, were the only one to lose.