Keeping a lead is a new experience for Detroit.
After spending much of the last two weeks blowing big leads, the Pistons took a 20-point edge in the first 10 minutes Sunday against the Seattle SuperSonics en route to a 104-87 victory.
Lindsey Hunter scored 20 points, and Jerry Stackhouse and Bison Dele added 18 each to lead the surging Pistons. Detroit led by as many as 27 points in winning for the fifth time in six games overall and 10th in 12 at home.
"It's really important for us to have a game when we get out to a nice lead and are able to hold on to it," said Pistons coach Alvin Gentry. "That gives our bench a lot of confidence when they can come in and hang on without us needing to put the starters back in."
Seattle, starting a five-game road trip, fell to 3-9 on the road by losing to the Pistons for only the fourth time in their last 13 meetings.
"That is one of the better teams we have seen," Dale Ellis said. "We're not good enough to start out on our heels and come back. On the road, you have to come out with a lot more energy than that."
The game started at 9:35 a.m. Seattle time, and the Sonics were sluggish. They trailed 28-8 in the first 10 minutes.
"We looked old, tired and slow," said Seattle coach Paul Westphal. "The Pistons took advantage of us. They handled us any way they wanted to."
Hunter had 13 points in the opening quarter as Detroit went up 30-16, and the Pistons kept it up in the second. They outscored the Sonics 28-22 for a 58-38 halftime lead, with Stackhouse getting nine of his 16 first-half points in the period.
AlthougGentry had talked about playing Stackhouse on Gary Payton, Hunter lobbied to keep the assignment and outscored the Seattle All-Star 20-10.
"It didn't sit well with me when Alvin talked about playing Jerry on Gary," he said. "I look up to point guards like Gary and Mookie (Blaylock), and I always look forward to the challenge of playing guys like them."
Detlef Schrempf opened the third period with consecutive 3-pointers for Seattle, but Dele stepped up for Detroit. He scored 12 points in the period, allowing the Pistons to lead by as many by 25.
"That was really important," said Grant Hill. "They hit those quick 3s, but we got the ball inside to B (Dele) and got the lead back up to 20 points."
Schrempf and Jelani McCoy led Seattle with 12 points each.
- The Pistons honored Rick Mahorn as part of their season-long tribute to the 1988-89 "Bad Boys" title team. Mahorn played Saturday with Philadelphia, and arrived at the Palace at game time.
- The game started Seattle's second three-in-three-days stretch of the season. The Sonics went 1-2 from March 9-11.
- Gary Payton became the third player in Seattle history to score more than 11,000 points, behind Fred Brown (14,018) and Jack Sikma (12,034). Payton reached the mark with a layup early in the second quarter.
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