PHILADELPHIA — The Pistons squashed all that chatter about heading home with a series deficit.
Tayshaun Prince scored 23 points and made all but one shot from the field, and Detroit played with a purpose and dominated the second half to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 93-84 on Sunday night, tying the best-of-seven Eastern Conference playoff series at 2-2.
Game 5 is Tuesday night at Detroit.
The Sixers pumped up the crowd when they played season highlights set to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.” Then Detroit guaranteed its season won’t unexpectedly cut-to-black.
All the euphoria the Sixers created after a 20-point win in Game 3 only grew as they raced to a 14-point first-half lead. The younger, faster, confident Sixers were taking it to the aging, slumping Pistons yet again.
Then those 59-win Pistons showed up in the third quarter. They haven’t reached five straight Eastern Conference finals by losing two straight road games to the seventh seed in the first round.
That combined 4-for-14 first half from Chauncey Billups and Rasheed Wallace? Forgotten after they drilled consecutive 3-pointers. Prince — 11-for-12 from the floor — followed with a baseline layup to cap an 11-0 spurt early in the third and gave the Pistons their first lead of the game, 47-46.
Wallace, perhaps fired up after he was T’d up in the final seconds of the first half, hit two more 3s that whipped a 14-point deficit all the way around to a 60-53 lead.
The Pistons picked up the defensive pressure and forced seven turnovers in the third. Detroit played like the 76ers did in Game 3, with active hands in the lane and pressure up top that rattled the upstart home team.
Wallace finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Richard Hamilton bounced back from a 1-for-10 first half to finish with 18 points. Billups also scored 18 points.
Antonio McDyess did not start but scored 10 points a day after he had surgery to repair a broken nose. McDyess wore a mask to protect the nose broken in the third quarter of Game 3.
Nothing can protect Andre Iguodala from more criticism about his awful playoff series.
76ers coach Maurice Cheeks answered even more pregame questions about the need for the slumping forward to start scoring big baskets. Iguodala showed early promise and made his first three shots, then collapsed again and finished with only 12 points.
He missed 10 of his final 11 shots and misfired on several wild attempts to try and seemingly win the game all by himself.
Samuel Dalembert had 12 points and 12 rebounds. Andre Miller and Willie Green each scored 13 points.
Iguodala appeared to have ended his slump when he faked Jarvis Hayes, spun away from his fallen defender and buried the jumper for his prettiest bucket of the series. The play was nothing more than a brief flash of his regular-season self.
Lou Williams grabbed a loose ball off a defensive deflection and sprinted the length of the court for a dunk and a 10-point lead. Rodney Carney drilled a 3 and Miller’s layup made it 45-31 for Philly’s largest lead of the half.
Wallace, whose jumper early in the first matched his point total for Game 3, screamed at the official after he was called for an offense foul and was quickly whistled for a technical. Wallace continued to bark at the refs even as his teammates tried to block him out on the bench and prevent a possible ejection.
The Pistons trailed 46-36 at the break, but perhaps the tone was set to take off in the second half.