EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Jerry Stackhouse's eyes lit up the moment he saw the opening. Bringing the ball far back behind his head, he unleashed a ferocious windmill dunk that brought his teammates bounding off the bench in admiration.
That dunk was one of five by Stackhouse in the second quarter Sunday as the Detroit Pistons pounded the New Jersey Nets 113-92 to avoid falling into eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
"I even got excited on that play," Stackhouse said of his first dunk. "I couldn't even go up there and get the free throw to finish the three-point play."
Stackhouse scored 34 and Grant Hill added 32 as the Pistons ran the floor with determination and scored almost at will in transition against a Nets team that played at half-speed. Hill also had 12 rebounds and eight assists, barely missing his 30th career triple-double.
Stackhouse's five-dunk outburst in the second quarter came as the Pistons were building a double-digit lead they never surrendered.
"A couple plays earlier I was able to get out for some layups, and whenever you do that then you can be a little more creative the next time down you get an opening," Stackhouse said.
Creative Stackhouse was, doing something fancy and different on each of the slams in what he said was his first five-dunk quarter in two years.
"When he goes to the basket, you never know. He'll surprise you," teammate Lindsey Hunter said. "He catches a lot of people off-guard because some of the dunks he makes it's like 'How did he do that?' He caught a lot of people like that today."
Detroit (37-35) snapped a two-game losing streak and moved a half-game ahead of eighth-place Orlando (37-36) in the conference.
Johnny Newman had 22 points for the Nets, whose already slim playoff hopes took a huge hit Friday night when they lost at Orlando to fall 5« games behind the Magic.
"They're dead, or they look dead," said Detroit's Eric Montross, an ex-Net who still has acquaintances on the team. "I don't mean this the wrong way, but there were definitely times, maybe when we were up 20, when it looked like they had no real desire to be out there."
Hill had two-3-pointers and numerous drives to the basket in reaching the 30-point mark for the 26th time this season.
Stackhouse topped the 30-point mark for the 15th time.
The Nets kept it close for a little over 12 minutes, falling behind for good on a 22-foot jumper by Jud Buechler with 38 seconds left in the first quarter.
Stackhouse scored the final two baskets of the second quarter on dunks, helping the Pistons to a 60-47 halftime lead. Stackhouse had 14 points in the period.
Hill and Stackhouse had back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the third quarter for an 82-59 lead, and Stackhouse followed with two foul shots, increasing the lead to 25. The Nets never threatened in the fourth.
"Someone asked me before the game if two tough losses at home would have a lingering effect on the team, and obviously it didn't," coach Detroit George Irvine said. "We showed a lot of character."
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