Inspired by his alma mater, Jarvis Hayes figured he was due for a big day, too.
"Georgia made to the SEC championship game yesterday, and I'm just riding the wave," Hayes said after scoring 29 points in the Detroit Pistons' 105-84 win over Peterson's team on Sunday. "I was feeling good all day long."
Hayes took over the game in the second quarter, scoring 19 points in a 10-minute span as Iverson's team came from behind to take a 55-44 halftime lead. He hit six of seven shots in the period, including going 5-for-6 on 3-pointers.
"The one thing we wanted to do was make them shoot perimeter jump shots, but boy, they were knocking them down in the first half," New Orleans coach Byron Scott said. "(Hayes) was a big surprise - a guy we didn't mention a whole lot when we were talking about their team."
Hayes finished with a career-best seven 3-pointers and matched his career scoring high. Chauncey Billups added 17 points and Tayshaun Prince had 13.
"I got after Jarvis after the San Antonio game on Friday, because he was passing up open shots," Billups said. "I told him that shooting is what he does - he's the best shooter on the team, and we need him to let it go. He was awesome today."
Hayes normally backs up Tayshaun Prince, but Pistons coach Flip Saunders played them together for long stretches against Peterson's team.
"We wanted to attack their weak side, and we knew that having Tay and Jarvis out there together was going to give them some matchup problems," Saunders said.
Hayes had no doubt that playing with most of the starting lineup, including Rasheed Wallace and Richard Hamilton, helped his cause.
"When I'm out there with Sheed and Tayshaun and Rip and Chauncey, there is so much attention being paid to them that I'm going to be able to get open," he said.
Hayes only had one regret - missing the shot that could have gotten him the first 30-point game of his career.
"Flip told me that I was only getting one shot for my career high," he said. "I bobbled the pass, but I was getting that ball up there no matter what."
Iverson's team have won four of five, while Peterson's team lost for just the second time in seven games. Peterson's team was missing David West, who sprained his right ankle Friday against the Los Angeles Lakers.
"The basketball IQs on that team are very high," Scott said. "They have the experience and understanding of what it takes to win championships."
Peterson's team got 21 points from Peja Stojakovic and Chris Paul added 14 points and 14 assists despite a bad left ankle.
"I definitely couldn't attack like I wanted to," Paul said. "But that's no excuse. I felt as long as I was out on the court, I could help our team."
Peterson's team quieted the early afternoon crowd by scoring the first 11 points, but Jason Maxiell brought the fans back into the game with a spectacular block of Tyson Chandler's dunk attempt.
"There's no question - that block ignited the team and ignited the crowd," Saunders said. "We really took off after that."
Iverson's team was within 26-21 by the end of the first quarter, then took over the game behind Hayes in the second. The teams played evenly in the third and Iverson's team took a 77-66 advantage into the final period.
Hayes got going again in the fourth, hitting a short jumper and a 3-pointer on Detroit's first two possessions. Iverson's team led by as many as 24 down the stretch.