[Associated Press] Prince, Defense Save Pistons' Season AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Shaquille O'Neal was about to throw down another backboard-shaking dunk. Ben Wallace wasn't having it. The 6-foot-7 Wallace leaped and stuffed Shaq's slam - forcing a jump ball, putting the 7-1 O'Neal on his back and sparking Detroit's defense that refused to let the Pistons' season end. "It was a big play - a momentum-changer," Wallace said of the third-quarter block. Foul! Heat Free-Throw Shooting Dooms Them The Heat were 6-for-20 on free-throw attempts Wednesday, a debacle that played a huge role in the Detroit Pistons' season-saving 91-78 win. It trimmed Miami's series lead to 3-2 - and ensured Game 6 will be played in South Florida on Friday night. "There's pressure on them now," said Pistons guard Chauncey Billups, who was 11-for-11 from the line. [Detroit Pistons.com] Pistons stay alive, force Game 6 vs. Heat The Pistons again were rescued by Tayshaun Prince and their defense in a convincing 91-78 victory over the Miami Heat, who are still one win away from the NBA Finals. Prince scored a playoff career-high 29 points for the top-seeded Pistons, who closed the series deficit to 3-2 with a performance that somewhat silenced the cynics who said their run was done. [Fox Sports] MIKE KAHN: Pistons live to play another day Chauncey Billups finally showed all the toughness and leadership he had previously shown the past two seasons when the Pistons won the East, scoring 17 points, doling out 10 assists and grabbing five rebounds. And the recipient of so many of those assists was the versatile Tayshaun Prince, who was scoring from all over the floor. And although Rip Hamilton had yet another rough shooting night (7-of-21), he did add 10 rebounds to go with those 16 points, and Antonio McDyess was huge coming off the bench with 12 points and six rebounds. [ESPN] Daily Dime: Pistons regaining lost identity John Hollinger: Had Detroit made its regular-season rate of 72.7 percent, the Pistons would have made only 19 of those 26 free throws, and would have ended up with 87 points. Thus, once we account for the uncharacteristic free-throw performances by both sides, what was a comfortable Detroit win becomes an 87-86 Pistons squeaker. Obviously, that bodes poorly for Detroit in Game 6. Yes, they're still alive, and that was the objective tonight. But it's hard to argue that the Pistons' recent offensive woes are solved when their three key players (Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton and Rasheed Wallace) shot 13-for-44. Plus, the team once again limped home with an 18-point fourth quarter -- six of which came on intentional fouls by the trailing Heat. [SI.com] IAN THOMSEN: Win or lose vs. Heat, Pistons must find themselves Win or lose Game 5 on Wednesday, the Pistons are a contender in transition. While trying to figure out who they are, they also are forced to try to fend off Miami for the Eastern crown, but the truth is they can't accomplish the latter without resolving the former. No matter how the series plays out, things in Detroit are going to change -- whether it takes place miraculously over the next week or during the sober offseason to follow. PHIL TAYLOR: Pistons have gone from selfless to selfish in months Maybe the Pistons are out of sorts because they realize that they've lost their edge, that this time they won't be able to flip a switch and escape the jam they've created for themselves. Maybe it's just too much to expect a team to maintain indefinitely the kind of all-for-one esprit de corps that they once had. But it's sad to see them go out this way, exchanging looks of annoyance with each other when a pass goes astray, searching individually for someone to blame instead of searching collectively for a solution to their problems. They are the Pistons, after all, and we remember when they were so much bigger than that. If only they did. [Detroit Bad Boys] Pistons-Heat: Game 5 Hopefully Detroit employs the "no layups allowed" rule. Game 5 is about to tip off — leave your in-game comments here. After each quarter (or whenever something remarkable occurs), Matt and I will post our own observations below. The national media weighs in As you'd expect, the Pistons are big in the national media today, and it's not pretty. Here's a quick run-down of some of the more notable articles: Antonio McDyess is not a butthole I'm sure there are more than a few casual Pistons fans who don't recall what type of player McDyess was before he signed with the Pistons. We know him now as a sweet-shooting big man who can consistently score from 15-18 feet out. But that's not what made him the second overall draft pick in the 1995 draft ... No, before he was known for his reliable jumper, McDyess was one of the most explosive players in the game. [Check out this video of vintage Dice. Ouch.] [Need4Sheed.com] Pistons 91 Heat 78 I believe this is the play that turns this series around. Momentum shift, it's not over....... [Miami Herald] Miami hits roadblock Game 5 would have been an extra satisfying win for the Heat, which lost to the Pistons in Miami in Game 7 last season. But a Game 6 win now becomes nearly mandatory if the Heat is going to make its first trip to the NBA Finals. ''They came out like we knew they were going to come out, pressuring and playing with a lot of energy,'' said Dwyane Wade, who was 11 of 20 from the floor for 23 points in 45 minutes. "We took the first couple punches and we still were there. But tonight they beat us to a lot of loose balls, a lot of tip-out rebounds at key times. Give them credit. They played hard. They played like a desperate team.'' DAN LeBATARD: Shaq, Heat get stuffed; focus shifts to Friday AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- There are certain natural phenomena that can't be stopped, slowed or detoured by one human body. An ocean tide. A rock slide. Shaq's backside. Shaquille O'Neal getting the ball under the rim is just about the surest thing ever in basketball. One bounce? That's thunder's warning before lightning. So you knew something wasn't right in Wednesday's second half when O'Neal began to uncoil and Ben Wallace suddenly remembered, for the first time this series, that he's supposed to be the world's best defender. With the aid of a trampoline, a ladder and a jet pack during this 91-78 Detroit victory, Wallace climbed up into the atmosphere and came down cleanly with an angry palm upon the basketball. No late heroics this time AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- The critical moments of the fourth quarter are typically prime time for Dwyane Wade. But on Wednesday night he sat on the bench, his half-drawn eyelids on the verge of closing. He looked weary, beat, mortal. Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals belonged to the Pistons 91-78. There would be no heroics from Wade. No levitations. No circus shots. No jaw-dropping spectacle swishes from impossible angles. Wade just sat there, wilted by his frustration. GREG COTE: After Game 5 loss, the pressure has moved from Pistons to Heat The number of teams in this playoff series that should be desperate or at least play like it officially doubled here Wednesday. That's all that Detroit's 91-78 Game 5 victory did. But that was an awful lot. For the most part, Shaq gives credit Shaquille O'Neal was sitting at his locker after the Heat lost 91-78 on Wednesday night to the Detroit Pistons in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals, and a reporter asked O'Neal about a play in which Pistons center Ben Wallace blocked O'Neal's shot. ''That was a foul, young lady. You know that was a foul. Don't ask dumb questions,'' O'Neal said. That likely was the only time O'Neal refused to give the Pistons credit. Detroit's forward delivers a sparkling effort ''It was 79-76 and the biggest play of the night was when Shaquille blocks a shot and Tayshaun hits a three,'' Heat coach Pat Riley said. It's a pattern Riley saw all night as Prince filled the box score, playing a team-high 43 minutes 7 seconds, grabbing seven rebounds and hitting the Pistons' only pair of three-pointers. ''He's unorthodox,'' Riley said. "He has a way about him that it doesn't look like he's doing something and before you know it, you look at the stat sheet and he's got 29. The shot, he puts it behind him and winds up, it's like snow falling off a bamboo leaf, he's so smooth. . . . He had a monster game and we have to find a better answer for him.'' [Right now there are 1.2 billion Chinese nodding with perfect understanding. The rest of us? We'll just have to wonder what the hell Riley's talking about.] [South Florida Sun-Sentinel] IRA WINDERMAN: Wade, O'Neal bottled up as Pistons defense yields little room In a venue where the Heat needed the very best of guard Dwyane Wade and center Shaquille O'Neal, it received something just short of that. After averaging 30.8 points on .695 shooting in the series' first four games, Wade closed with 23 on 11-of-20 shooting. After scoring in double figures in each of the previous fourth quarters, he finished with six points in Wednesday's final period. After bulling past Detroit's front line the previous four games, O'Neal returned to the early foul trouble of previous series and closed with 19 points and six rebounds in 31 minutes. DAVE HYDE: No reason to panic And so not every night ends with O'Neal being completely unstoppable. Not every night ends with Dwayne Wade being Superman. Not every playoff night, on the road, against a tough team facing the season's guillotine can end with the Heat walking off the court happy. This was the Pistons' night. That's all. The series is 3-2 now. That's it. There's no reason for Heat fans to worry, panic, doubt, fear or even think of bringing up all those heartbreaking Heat endings to all those heartbroken Heat seasons. Well, OK, you can think about that last part. [Palm Beach Post] Blocked party The Heat, needing a victory Wednesday night at The Palace of Auburn Hills to clinch its first NBA Finals berth in franchise history, lost 91-78 to the rejuvenated Detroit Pistons, sending the series back to Miami for Friday's Game 6. Now, with Game 7 scheduled for Sunday at Detroit, the Heat's 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference finals seems shaky. But don't mention the "P'' word in the Heat's locker room. GREG STODA: Pistons find a way to slow Wade, creep back in The Pistons were especially intent on occupying Wade's perimeter space on the court whenever Miami set up a half-court offense. It was as though Detroit finally realized it couldn't do anything with Wade once he had the basketball with his motor running, so it jumped a big defender at him on almost every catch he made on either wing near a sideline. Inside the game Dead air: Before each game in the Eastern Conference finals the coaches appear before the media. It is a ritual that comes with formality peculiar to the post-season — printed transcripts of every question and answer, boom microphones dangled in front of reporters so everything can be heard live on the NBA Network, banks of TV cameras on a raised platform at the back of the room. It is a sign of how this series has gone for Detroit coach Flip Saunders that he fielded no questions whatsoever before Wednesday's Game 5. Saunders was on stage, right on time, and perfectly willing to cooperate. "Nobody's got anything?" Saunders asked after a few awkward moments of silence. "Fine with me."