The Detroit Pistons can breathe a little easier. There won't be a Game 7, after all.
Richard Hamilton scored 23 points and the Pistons beat the Chicago Bulls, 95-85, in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals last night, clinching a series that turned tense after Detroit won the first three games.
No NBA team has lost a best-of-seven series after taking a 3-0 lead, and the Pistons rejected the Bulls' shot at history. Now, Detroit can focus on its fifth straight conference final.
Down 48-43 at halftime, the Pistons outscored the Bulls, 31-21, in the third quarter to take a 74-69 lead, and Chicago could not sustain any momentum in the fourth.
Rasheed Wallace had 16 points and 13 rebounds for Detroit, while Tayshaun Prince added 17 points and nine rebounds. Chauncey Billups was just 3-for-12 from the field but scored 11 of his 21 points in the third quarter.
A jumper by Wallace, who had received a technical foul just over a minute earlier, and hook shot by Prince made it 85-73 with 2:20 left, and Detroit hung on from there.
"We were moving the ball," Wallace said of the difference in Detroit's offense in the second half. "In the first half we were stagnant and didn't move the ball. That's what we talked about at halftime."
Chicago's P.J. Brown attempted just three shots in the second half after scoring all of his 20 points in the first two quarters, matching his playoff career high. Luol Deng added 17 points, but the Bulls were off target after shooting 57.3 percent in Game 5.
This time, they were 28-for-75 (37.3 percent), with Ben Gordon (19 points) going 7-for-18 and Kirk Hinrich (11 points) 3-for-13.
The Bulls were trying to become the fourth NBA team to force a Game 7 after falling behind 3-0, and keep alive their hopes of joining another exclusive club. Only the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, 1975 New York Islanders and 2004 Boston Red Sox have rallied from 3-0 deficits to win a best-of-seven series.
The Pistons will meet the winner of the Cleveland-New Jersey series, which the Cavaliers lead 3-2. The Nets host Game 6 of that series tonight.
* The Internal Revenue Service says Golden State Warriors owner Chris Cohan owes more than $160 million in back income taxes and penalties from the 1998 sale of a cable television company.
The IRS claims Cohan set up three tax shelters to avoid a hefty bill after selling cable TV company Sonic Communications to Charter Communications for more than $200 million. As a result, the government is demanding about $95 million in past due taxes and another $66 million in penalties from Cohan, federal court records show.
Cohan's attorney, Edward Robbins, didn't return a telephone call or an e-mail seeking comment from the Associated Press. A Warriors spokesman said the team had no comment.
In previous testimony, Cohan said that trusted advisers were in charge of all decisions regarding the Sonic sale.
* Denver's Marcus Camby wanted to help Team USA qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics this summer, but he's putting his family before the flag. Camby, the NBA's defensive player of the year, declined an invitation from USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo to participate in the team's camp in Las Vegas this summer because of an undisclosed pressing family matter.
Earlier this month, Camby's wife delivered the couple's second child, a girl. *