No need for a coach to intrude when a player is this hot. Score tied? Clock running down? Instead of calling a timeout, Larry Brown let Chauncey Billups call the play. Billups called his own...
WASHINGTON — No need for a coach to intrude when a player is this hot. Score tied? Clock running down? Instead of calling a timeout, Larry Brown let Chauncey Billups call the play.
Billups called his own number, a clear-out that gave him an open look for a 14-footer that won the game with 0.7 seconds remaining, giving the Detroit Pistons a 107-105 victory over the Washington Wizards last night.
“He had a hot hand, and he called the play,” Brown said. “He had confidence to do it and make sure they didn’t get another opportunity. I’m glad because I don’t like to call timeouts, especially with them out of timeouts. It gives us a chance to put the pressure on them.”
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Billups scored 10 of his season-high 32 points in the final five minutes and had a key block with 58 seconds to go. The Pistons overcame a 15-point third-quarter deficit to win their third straight, displaying the kind of fortitude they’ll need if they’re to successfully defend their NBA title.
“They are the world champions, and they know how to win playoff-type basketball,” Washington coach Eddie Jordan said. “And this was very close to that.”
Playing before their first sellout crowd of the season, the Wizards saw the game as a measuring stick for the progress they’ve made in their best start in two decades. Washington has lost seven in a row to Detroit. And this one was as maddening as they get.
“The only time I felt like that was when I played in college and we played against Duke in the championship,” said Washington guard Gilbert Arenas, whose Arizona Wildcats lost to the Blue Devils in the 2001 NCAA title game. “That’s the last time I felt that disappointed in a loss. That’s because we played so hard, and it’s like nothing we did right we got rewarded for.”