AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Richard Hamilton is trying something new this weekend.
So far, he and his Detroit Pistons teammates are very happy with the results.
Instead of gradually working his way into the flow of a game, Hamilton has tried attacking the basket from the opening tip, and it has resulted in 57 points in a pair of victories.
"I'm always in a comfort level, but this is about being aggressive right out of the gate," he said. "I'm going hard, instead of waiting for it."
The Pistons (5-5) have won two straight to get back to .500 after their worst start in six years.
"This team is still finding its identity," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. "We felt like we might go through some tough times early, because of our schedule. But it is good to see that the starters are getting into a rhythm, and that we're only a game or two behind where we had hoped to be."
Houston (6-4) had won five of six.
The teams traded the lead through the early portions of the fourth quarter, but the Pistons took control with a 17-2 run that gave them a 98-85 lead with 3:18 left.
"I'm very disappointed," Houston's Tracy McGrady said. "We talked about it, and we know what the problem is, because it has been the same thing all the time. We give ourselves a chance to win on the road, and then we lose it in the fourth quarter."
Murray hasn't gotten much playing time as Hamilton's backup, but Detroit went with a three-guard offense in Saturday's fourth quarter.
"I just want to be a spark," he said. "When I come into the game, I'm trying to create havoc on both ends of the floor."
Wallace finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds for Detroit and Tayshaun Prince scored 15 points.
Yao Ming scored 33 points and added 16 rebounds. McGrady added 25 points for Houston, but no other Rockets player reached double figures.
"We think we can do some things better," Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "We were up two going into the fourth, and we didn't rebound, we didn't shoot and we had a number of turnovers. They made it hard on us, but we didn't make it very hard on them."
The Pistons looked comfortable early, but Houston went on a 20-1 run that spanned the first and second quarters. The Rockets held the Pistons without a field goal for nearly eight minutes, and it spurred them to a 52-50 halftime lead.
Yao had 19 in the half and McGrady added 17 before picking up his third foul in the last seconds of the second quarter.
The game remained close for the entire third quarter. Detroit went ahead 74-72 on a late dunk by Prince, but the Rockets moved back into a 78-76 lead at the end of the period.
- Prince hit a medium-range jumper at the first-half buzzer to get Detroit within two.
- The game was announced as the 141st straight sellout at the Palace, but there were noticeable gaps in the crowd on the evening of the Michigan-Ohio State game.
- The Pistons' bench was given a technical foul in the second quarter, and when Leon Washington was asked who it was on, he replied "All of them!" The technical was eventually credited to Wallace, his fifth of the young season, but the Pistons felt it should have been called on assistant coach Ron Harper and have appealed to the league office.