Thu, Nov 04, 2004 - Page 19 News List

Pistons start off the season hitting on all cylinders

AP , AUBURN HILLS, MICHIGANAP, COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA

Richard Hamilton, left, of the Pistons, drives on Yao Ming of the Rockets during the third quarter in Auburn Hills, Michigan on Tuesday. Detroit won at home, 87-79.

PHOTO: AP

Rasheed Wallace, one of five Pistons to score in double figures, had 24 points to help Detroit defeat the Houston Rockets 87-79 Tuesday night in the first game of the NBA season.

Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming, playing their first regular-season game together, found out what Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal did during their last five games together with the Los Angeles Lakers: The Pistons, relentless on defense and well-balanced on offense, are tough to beat.

McGrady missed 12 of 18 shots and finished with 18 points after scoring just three during the first half. Yao had just seven points on 2-of-9 shooting.

Detroit's entire starting lineup from last season is back, and all five players scored at least 10. Aside from Rasheed Wallace's big night on 10-of-19 shooting, Chauncey Billups had 17, Richard Hamilton scored 15, Ben Wallace had 15 points and 10 rebounds and Tayshaun Prince scored 10 while smothering McGrady defensively much like he did against Bryant during the NBA Finals.

A federal jury ordered National Basketball Association all-star Vince Carter to pay his imprisoned former agent, William "Tank" Black, nearly US$4.7 million in lost commissions and damages.

The panel said Tuesday that Carter breached his contract with Black's company, Professional Management Inc, when the Toronto Raptors guard dissolved the agreement in 2000. It awarded Black US$4,675,640.45 in actual damages.

The jury also found that Black violated his fiduciary duties to Carter and ordered the one-time sports agent to pay US$800,000 to Carter. That was the total of two loans Carter made to Black.

"Obviously, we're unhappy with it," Carter's attorney, Jake Moore, said. "It's hard to understand. One thing I know about juries, figuring out the rationale behind decisions is sometimes very hard to do."

The decision brought a temporary end to the court case. Carter spent several days away from his NBA club as he fought Black, a federal prisoner.

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