The Detroit Pistons punished the Chicago Bulls inside and out - again.

Tayshaun Prince scored 25 points on an array of midrange shots, a dunk in traffic and three-pointers to lead Detroit to a 108-87 victory and a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals last night.

Game 3 is Thursday in Chicago, giving the Bulls time to figure something out after being dominated in consecutive games.

Even though Prince led the way, he had plenty of help.

Richard "Rip" Hamilton had 24 points, Chris Webber scored 22, and Chauncey Billups had 14 points and 10 rebounds. Rasheed Wallace added 10 points.

"[Prince] can take over games, especially when they try to focus on taking guys like Rip or Rasheed away," Billups said.

Chicago's Tyrus Thomas scored 12 of his 18 points in the final quarter to prevent the Pistons from winning by 26, as they did in the series opener, but the Bulls' stars did not shine.

Luol Deng scored 16 on 4-for-12 shooting, Ben Gordon and Ben Wallace each scored 13 and Kirk Hinrich was held to two points on 0-for-7 shooting.

Just as it did in Game 1, Detroit took control of the game with a big run in the first quarter and prevented the Bulls from rallying the rest of the way.

The Pistons led by 24 points early in the second quarter, 23 late in the third and had inside-and-out answers when Thomas helped Chicago pull to 93-80 midway through the fourth.

Rasheed Wallace dunked on Thomas and Billups made a three-pointer to end the comeback hopes for the Bulls, who emptied their bench a few minutes later.

The Pistons are 6-0 in the playoffs, the franchise's best winning streak in a postseason since closing the 1989 championship run with seven straight wins.

Noteworthy

* Houston Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy denied a newspaper report that he was going to retire but said he plans to take some time to evaluate his future with the team.

The Rockets' season ended Saturday with a Game 7 loss to Utah, and a report in the New York Post the next day said Van Gundy was going to retire.

"I do the same thing every year since I've been coaching - I sit back and I think about what's right for the team and what's right for myself," Van Gundy said. "This is no different. . . . Where that [report] originated, I haven't seen the story, so I can't tell you. When I got called about it, it caught me off-guard a little bit."

* Utah Jazz guard Derek Fisher was excused from the Western Conference semifinal opener against Golden State to be with his family.

"I've got some personal family things that we're dealing with right now involving one of my children. When the time is appropriate, I'll be able to fully address it," Fisher said. *