Billups scored 26 points and made a tying 3-pointer in the final seconds of the first extra period to spark Detroit past Minnesota 104-98 in double overtime on Friday night.
"I know they can win without me. I don't think they can win without K.G.," said McDyess, who appeared to start the angry tangle by knocking Mark Madsen over with a forearm shiver while they maneuvered for rebound position with 5:18 remaining in regulation and the score tied.
Garnett got mad and chucked the ball at McDyess, who charged at Garnett with his fist cocked. Garnett was poised to punch, too, and took a swipe at McDyess as he partially retreated, but teammates and officials stayed between the two and no blows were landed.
"Everyone in this locker room is behind Kevin Garnett 100 percent," Madsen said.
Garnett had 14 points and tied a season high with 19 rebounds. He left the building without commenting.
McDyess? He claimed it wasn't his fault and also complained that a fan yelled a racial slur at him as he left the court following the scrum.
"I never threw a punch or anything. I wanted to," McDyess said, laughing.
Perhaps he was preparing for Saturday night, when Ron Artest and the Sacramento Kings play the Pistons. It will be Artest's first game at the Palace of Auburn Hills since the brawl between Indiana Pacers players and Detroit fans on Nov. 19, 2004.
The league has been cracking down hard on fighting since then, especially this season.
"This is the league. There's a lot of testosterone. This is a man's game and sometimes tempers flare and sometimes things are said, things happen. And sometimes when situations like that happen, you've just got to step up," said Minnesota's Mike James, who put his team ahead 89-86 with a tough 3-pointer from the corner while Richard Hamilton defended with 13.8 seconds left in the first overtime.
Hamilton sneaked inside for a layup. Following two free throws by Randy Foye, James tried to foul Billups before he caught the inbounds pass -- but Billups got loose and made his big 3-pointer from the top of the key to tie it at 91 with 3.3 seconds left. Billups had 20 points after the third period.
Then Detroit, which won for only the fourth time in 12 games, pulled away.
Rasheed Wallace opened the second overtime with a jumper, and he made a turnaround hook shot about two minutes later to put the Pistons up 99-93. The Wolves, who lost for the first time in five overtime games and only the fifth time in their last 15 games overall, couldn't come closer than five after that.
They start a five-game, seven-day road trip this weekend, but because of Garnett's ejection players were defiant -- not deflated.
"I think this is going to galvanize us," Madsen said, downplaying any disharmony regarding coach Dwane Casey and Ricky Davis.
Davis, who had five points in 23 minutes, looked peeved when he was replaced by Foye during a third-quarter timeout. Davis left for the locker room, and assistant coach Rex Kalamian came after him. Casey and James both claimed Davis had to visit the bathroom. He was back on the bench later in the period, but James and teammate Justin Reed were each seen giving him pep talks.
"I didn't like his focus," Casey said, adding that he didn't think about putting Davis -- the team's second-leading scorer -- back in again.
Coach Flip Saunders, coaching just his second game at Target Center with the visiting team after nearly 10 seasons running the Timberwolves, put new arrival Chris Webber into the starting lineup so he could get more work with Billups.
After missing eight games because of a calf injury, Billups has scored 51 points over his last two outings. The Pistons didn't start out well, though they were tied at 39 at the half. They shot 1-for-10 from 3-point range over the first two quarters.
"I can't wait until we really become a cohesive unit," Billups said. "Tonight we were pretty fired up, especially late. I can't wait to get back to running all of the plays for this offense."
- Minnesota's Marko Jaric missed his fifth straight game with a sprained right thumb. Casey said Jaric would return Sunday at Phoenix.
- Saunders said he spoke with Dale Davis to assure him he wasn't being shelved with Webber's arrival and would still get plenty of playing time against bigger centers.
- Garnett is 17-for-46 from the floor over his last three games, totaling only 46 points.