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Top guards to square off

Prepare to go "on guard" when it comes to prime-time NBA fantasy matchups this week.

Most Valuable Player candidate Chauncey Billups and Dwayne Wade get together today when the Detroit Pistons face the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena (3:30 p.m., Ch. 7).

On Wednesday night at the Wachovia Center, Tony Parker and Allen Iverson lock horns when the San Antonio Spurs face the Philadelphia 76ers.

Billups against Wade has more of a history than Parker against Iverson. Since Wade entered the league in 2003-04, he and Billups have had 14 head-to-head meetings, including Detroit's seven-game victory in last season's Eastern Conference finals.

The Pistons have won 10 times, but Wade has the better numbers. Wade averages 20.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists while shooting 46.9 percent from the floor and 79.6 percent from the charity stripe. Billups' numbers: 18.9 points, 5.5 assists, 3.8 rebounds, 40.4 percent from the field and 85.9 percent at the foul line.

Wade has bettered 30 points three times, including back-to-back 40- and 36-point efforts in Games Two and Three of last year's playoff series.

They've met just once this season, a 106-101 Pistons victory at Auburn Hills on Dec. 29 with Wade outscoring Billups, 33-30.

Since Parker entered the NBA for the 2001-02 campaign, he and Iverson have gone toe to toe seven times with the Spurs winning four times, including the last three.

Iverson averages 29.4 points, 5.0 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 2.1 steals while shooting 40.9 percent from the floor and 79.4 from the line. Parker, who has yet to outscore Iverson, averages 12.0 points, 5.6 assists and 4.1 rebounds while shooting 49.2 percent from the field and 57.1 percent from the foul line.

All-star forwards Tim Duncan and LeBron James are the marquee players when the Spurs meet the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday at Quicken Loans Arena.

The Spurs have won four of their five meetings, including a 102-76 decision at San Antonio on Nov. 4, when Duncan outscored James, 21-20.

James hasn't been outscored by many opponents but Duncan holds a slight edge in the series. Duncan averages 22.8 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.2 blocked shots, shooting 54.9 percent from the field and 66.7 from the line. James puts up 22.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.2 steals, shooting 46 percent from the field and 82.6 from the line.


West rivals face off

Before the NHL goes on its Olympic break, the Detroit Red Wings and Colorado Avalanche -- who matched up in five playoff series from 1996-2002 -- play the last of their four regular season games today at Joe Louis Arena. The Red Wings lead the series, 3-0, and have outscored the Avs, 17-6.

Wings defenseman Mathieu Schneider has four points against the Avs this season and 40 in his career, the most against any opponent. Left wing Brendan Shanahan has 44 points in 54 career games against Detroit.

Avs center Joe Sakic has always been a pain for the Wings with 18 goals, 36 assists and 54 points in 50 career games against Detroit.


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