Gerald Wallace had 29 points and 12 rebounds in his return after missing a game with severe headaches, leading the Charlotte Bobcats to an 88-76 victory over the undermanned Detroit Pistons on Tuesday night to snap a three-game losing streak.
Stephen Jackson added 13 points despite playing with a sore back for the sharp-shooting Bobcats, who held a comfortable lead over the final three quarters.
The Pistons lost their fifth straight as they again had 52 points a game in street clothes, with Richard Hamilton (hamstring), Tayshaun Prince (back) and Ben Gordon (ankle) sidelined.
Gordon was the closest to returning, but it was determined before tip-off he'd miss an eighth straight game.
Rodney Stuckey scored 20 points for Detroit, which shot 38 percent.
Wallace missed Sunday's loss to New York after getting elbowed in the face a night earlier. The Bobcats don't think he sustained what would be his fifth concussion as a pro, and he passed a series of tests over the past two days to get cleared to return.
The 6-foot-7 Wallace, second only to Orlando's Dwight Howard in rebounds per game, saw no drop-off in his work on the boards and had a big game from 3-point range.
Wallace shot 4 of 6 on 3s, including a 23-footer early in the second half to put Charlotte up 60-39. The Pistons got no closer than 12 points the rest of the way and Charlotte finished 9 of 18 from long range.
Jackson added eight rebounds and four assists two nights after leaving the Knicks loss in the third quarter with back spasms. He joked at shootaround that he was going to "take some Advil and play" and was clearly in pain.
Each time Jackson came out he got a heat pad wrapped around his lower back. He had to be helped by a trainer to sit down in the second quarter and sat on a large exercise ball in the third. But it didn't seem to slow him on the floor.
Jackson's driving layup and his feed to Nazr Mohammed for a dunk keyed an 18-5 run to start the second quarter that put Charlotte ahead 41-24. Wallace had 19 points at halftime and the Bobcats led 52-36, spoiling Pistons coach John Kuester's return to North Carolina.
It was perhaps fitting in a coaching matchup of former North Carolina players that the Tar Heels football team was in attendance ahead of its game Saturday against Pittsburgh in the Meineke Bowl.
Kuester spent time before tip-off chatting with his former boss, Charlotte coach Larry Brown, and talking up his old school.
But Kuester, an assistant under Brown on Detroit's 2004 NBA championship team, had an overmatched roster.
Chucky Atkins, Jonas Jerebko and Jason Maxiell were in the starting lineup for the Pistons, who got most of their offense from the emerging Stuckey.
He hit nine of 20 shots, but Will Bynum (12 points) was the only other player in double figures for Detroit, which had won four straight in Charlotte.
The Bobcats were without guard Flip Murray, who has a sprained right ankle, then lost struggling center Tyson Chandler to a sprained left foot in the third quarter.
Ex-Piston Mohammed filled in well in the middle with 12 points and nine rebounds.
NOTES: Brown was talking to reporters after shootaround when Hamilton walked by. "Greatest coach of all-time right there," Hamilton said. ... Brown on all the Pistons' injuries: "I look at it as a good thing. They're developing the young guys and when they come back they're going to be off and running." ... Pistons F Charlie Villanueva has ditched the mask to protect his broken nose. But what if he gets hit there again? "That's something I'm willing to accept," he replied.