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Pistons Knock Down Rockets

A return home helped the Detroit Pistons earn their first victory since the firing of Doug Collins.

Joe Dumars scored eight of his 16 points down the stretch and Detroit held Houston to only four baskets in the fourth quarter as the Pistons snapped a three-game losing streak with a 104-92 win over the Rockets on Thursday night.

The Pistons, 1-1 since interim coach Alvin Gentry replaced Collins on Monday, were led by Grant Hill's 24 points.

Charles Barkley had 26 points for the Rockets, who fought back from an 11-point third quarter deficit to take a one-point lead early in the fourth. Hakeem Olajuwon, in his second game since coming back from arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, scored 19 points in 26 minutes for Houston.

Rick Mahorn's fallaway jumper gave Detroit a 73-62 lead with 3:35 left in the third quarter. But the Rockets, getting six points from Olajuwon, outscored the Pistons 13-6 over the remainder of the third.

Olajuwon had a basket and a free throw and Matt Maloney sank a 3-pointer as the Rockets opened the fourth quarter with an 8-0 burst, completing a 21-6 run and taking an 81-80 lead with 10:13 remaining.

But then the Pistons took over.

Hill sandwiched a pair of jumpers around a basket by Brian Williams. Dumars hit a left-side jumper, Grant Long scored on a layup, Dumars made a 3-pointer from the left corner and Mahorn put in a rebound to complete a 16-2 burst that put the game away.

Dumars hit another 3-pointer to give Detroit a 98-85 lead and the Pistons continued to take advantage of Houston's cold shooting.

The Rockets were 25-of-30 from the free throw line, while Detroit made 5 of 11 free throws.

Notes: With Olajuwon in the lineup, the Rockets outscored Detroit 57-54. With Olajuwon on the bench, Detroit outscored Houston 50-35. ... The Rockets are 18-4 when leading after the third quarter, but 3-18 when trailing after the third. ... Bill Laimbeer, rumored to be in contention for Detroit's coaching job next season, watched the game from courtside.

Written by Harry Atkins AP Sports Writer
©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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