Pistons send Cavs to 43rd loss this season

Posted: Monday, February 17, 2003

CLEVELAND - Darius Miles draped a towel over his head, dropped to the floor and tried to disappear.

As the Cleveland Cavaliers stumbled toward their 43rd loss, Miles wanted to be anywhere but Gund Arena.

"I got a lot of love for these guys, but it got to the point where I didn't even want to play anymore," Miles said.

Richard Hamilton scored 23 points and Chauncey Billups added 15 Sunday night, leading the Detroit Pistons to a 90-75 win over the miserable Cavaliers.

Hamilton scored 11 points in the third quarter when the Pistons, the NBA's best defensive team, limited Cleveland to 14 points and took control. Ben Wallace added 13 points and 16 rebounds as Detroit won for the seventh time in eight games and moved within one game of Central Division-leading Indiana.

Ricky Davis had 19 points for Cleveland, which has lost 13 of 15 and dropped to a league-worst 10-43. The Cavs are just 2-9 under interim coach Keith Smart.

Rookie Carlos Boozer Jr., a Juneau-Douglas High School alum, tied a season-high with 15 rebounds, but Cavs All-Star center Zydrunas Ilgauskas had just six rebounds and 10 points on 5-for-15 shooting.

"I don't have any brilliant quotes," Boozer said. "We just have to keep working."

Miles, a major disappointment for Cleveland this season, scored four points - all on free throws - and had four rebounds in 30 minutes. He spent a portion of the fourth quarter lounging on the floor near the Cavs' bench hoping the game would end quickly.

"We're just not playing as a team," he said. "I don't know what we're doing out there. We're like a bunch of street ballers out there."

Before the game, Miles said some of the Pistons were wondering what was wrong with the Cavs.

"Guys are like, 'Y'all got so much talent, why aren't you winning'," Miles said.

Billups was one of them.

"Cleveland is too good to have that record," he said. "There is a lot of talent there. It's mind-boggling to see they only have 10 wins. They are young, talented and in many ways, have more ability than we do.

"That team is so talented it's scary."

Earlier this season, the Cavs twice took the Pistons to overtime before losing. However, this one was all but over at halftime, and Detroit made sure of it with a dominating third period.

After the Cavs trimmed a 13-point halftime deficit to seven in the opening 2:40 of the third, Hamilton and Billups combined to score Detroit's next 13 as the Pistons rebuilt their lead to 14.

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