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Detroit pulls away from 76ers in opener



Published: Sat, April 23, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Rasheed Wallace led the Pistons with 26 of his 29 points in the second half.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- After leading Detroit to the NBA title last year, Rasheed Wallace got the Pistons off to a fast start in postseason.

Wallace scored 24 of his 29 points in the second half Saturday, helping the Pistons pull away from the Philadelphia 76ers 106-85 in the first game of the NBA playoffs.

Allen Iverson had 30 points and 10 assists, and Chris Webber scored 27, but that wasn't nearly enough for the Sixers.

Detroit will host Game 2 in the best-of-seven series Tuesday.

The seventh-seeded Sixers started the game with a nothing-to-lose mentality, and it helped them build 16-point lead in the first quarter before Detroit went ahead for good late in the second quarter.

McDyess sparks comeback

Antonio McDyess scored 13 of his 15 points in the second quarter to lead Detroit's comeback. Tayshaun Prince finished with 23 points, Richard Hamilton had 17 and Chauncey Billups added 11. Ben Wallace tied a Pistons playoff record with seven blocks and had seven points and 10 rebounds.

Detroit followed up a 16-point first period with 32 points in each of the next two quarters.

Philadelphia's Samuel Dalembert had 10 points and a season-high 18 rebounds and Andre Iguodala added 10 points.

When the Pistons dealt reserves and No. 1 picks for Rasheed Wallace just before the trading deadline last season, he turned a good team into a champion with his inside-outside scoring, defense and swagger.

Wallace started slowly

He got off to a slow start against his hometown team, scoring just five points on 1-of-6 shooting in the first half. But he had 16 points in the third quarter and eighth in the fourth.

He scored 12 of Detroit's 14 points over the first 3-plus minutes of the second half -- while Iverson had all six of the Sixers' points -- to put the Pistons ahead 62-52. Detroit led by as many as 13 in the third before starting the fourth with an 80-70 lead.

He made consecutive 3-pointers midway through the fourth to extend the Pistons' lead to 15 points.

Iverson and the Sixers faced their former coach, Larry Brown, who left to lead the Pistons two years ago. Iverson hugged Brown before the tipoff and pointed out his family sitting in the stands. Brown coached Iverson for six of his nine NBA seasons and all 57 of his previous playoff games, including the 2001 NBA Finals.

Rockets 98, Mavericks 86

DALLAS -- Tracy McGrady scored the majority of his 34 points during the first three quarters while Houston built a big lead, then Mike James and Jon Barry helped protect the shrinking margin in the final period in Game 1.

McGrady helped Houston take a 19-point lead early in the second quarter. The Rockets were up by double-digits until the closing minutes of the third, then Dallas got within 75-71 with 9:16 remaining.

James scored Houston's next three baskets with two jumpers and a wild layup. Barry followed with a 3-pointer and the Rockets were back up 84-73 and just 5:52 to play.

Although Dirk Nowitzki scored 21 points, he was 5-of-19 with six turnovers and 10 rebounds. Josh Howard and Jason Terry each scored 17 for Dallas and Jerry Stackhouse had 14 in a reserve role.

James finished with 16 points and Yao Ming had 11 for Houston. Yao went 3-for-8 with eight rebounds in 20 foul-plagued minutes.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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