Pistons 87, Cavaliers 82

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) - The Detroit Pistons moved a step closer to earning home-court advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Richard Hamilton scored 21 points and Chauncey Billups had 14 points and 12 assists, directing a balanced attack that gave Detroit an 87-82 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday.

The Pistons have won four of five to maintain their cushion over Chicago and Cleveland - which has lost seven of 12 - for the best record in the conference.

Detroit led by 10 early in the fourth quarter, but held off the charging Cavs late in the game.

Billups made go-ahead free throws with 1:29 left, then assisted on Antonio McDyess' dunk on Detroit's next possession. Unlike in the previous meeting, the Pistons kept LeBron James in
check. He had 20 points on 5-of-16 shooting, six assists, five turnovers and five rebounds.

James missed two free throws with 37.4 seconds left, trailing by four, then the Cavaliers allowed about 20 seconds to run off the clock before fouling. He scored a season-high 41 a month ago at Detroit, lifting the Cavs to an overtime win.