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Pistons Pound Clippers

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Detroit Pistons played some defense, then let Grant Hill take over.

The result was 35 points by Hill in a 94-76 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night.

"This was a very important game for us," Hill said. ``It got us back to .500."

The Pistons are 20-20 near the midpoint of the season.

"We have been knocking on the door since we started the season at 2-2," coach Doug Collins said. "Now we are looking forward to the playoffs."

With the Pistons ahead 80-69, Joe Dumars hit a 3-pointer to start a 9-0 run that put Detroit in front 89-69 with 2:23 left in the game.

The Pistons played without Brian Williams, who missed his first game of the season because of tendonitis in his left knee.

The Clippers trailed 43-39 early in the third quarter before Hill scored six straight points to build the lead to 10. Hill and Dumars each scored nine points in the third quarter as the Pistons led 65-54 entering the final period.

"Our defense was sensational tonight," Collins said. ``Defensively, we were able to hold ourselves in there. Then Grant took over. He played great."

The Clippers scored six straight points to cut their deficit to 67-60 with 9:52 left, but the Pistons responded with their own 6-0 run to go up 73-60.

Hill made eight field goals in the first half, equaling the Clippers' entire output.

Dumars added 18 points for the Pistons, while Lamond Murray led the Clippers with 16 points.

Notes: Clippers coach Bill Fitch needs two wins to pass Red Auerbach (938) and move into second place on the NBA's all-time victory list. ... Los Angeles is last in the NBA in points allowed, surrendering an average of 103.7. ... Detroit has won six of its last nine games and 13 of its last 23. ... Dumars overtook Bill Laimbeer for second place on Detroit's career list with 938 games played. ... Barry has scored in double figures in 29 of 35 games, including the last 12.

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