AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – Richard Hamilton scored 23 points, and the Detroit Pistons held off the Indiana Pacers 100-88 on Saturday night.
The Pistons went on a 21-3 run during the third quarter to take an 18-point lead. The Pacers, who are fighting for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, cut the lead to six in the fourth quarter, but Hamilton drove for an easy layup, then made a nice pass to Rodney Stuckey for a layup to make it 90-80.
Brandon Rush scored 19 points for the Pacers.
Detroit's Charlie Villanueva, benched for the Pistons' loss to Cleveland on Friday, didn't play until the fourth quarter Saturday, but he played that entire period and made all five of his shots to finish with 13 points.
Hamilton was benched earlier in the season, but he's been back in the lineup lately and may have been the best player on the court Saturday. He shot 7 of 13 from the field and added six assists, although he also had five turnovers. Stuckey added 16 points, and Tayshaun Prince scored 13 for Detroit.
Tyler Hansbrough scored 16 points for the Pacers, and Danny Granger contributed 14. Indiana went 7 of 19 on free throws, including a pair of big misses by A.J. Price with 1:54 remaining and the Pacers down by seven.
The Pistons led 48-47 at halftime, and the game was tied at 53 when they went on their decisive run. Prince started it with a turnaround from 14 feet, and his 3-pointer pushed the lead into double digits at 65-54. Austin Daye gave Detroit its largest lead with a 3-pointer from the right wing that made it 74-56.
Indiana scored the next seven points, but Hamilton halted that run with a 3-pointer from the right corner.
Hamilton's shot at the buzzer from near midcourt gave Detroit a 26-25 lead after the first quarter. Replays showed Hamilton was at least close to stepping on the sideline, but officials let the shot stand after a review.
Notes: Former Pistons star John Salley sat in the front row. ... Indiana G Mike Dunleavy missed the game with a broken left thumb. Detroit G Tracy McGrady sat out with a sore back, and C Ben Wallace was sidelined by a sore left knee. ... Price finished 1 of 6 on free throws. ... The boys' basketball team from Fennville High School, which received national attention following the death of one of its players earlier this month, was in attendance and was given a warm ovation during the second half.