May 2006 Pistons articles *Frequent Updates*

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  1. LanierFan

    LanierFan Bench Warmer

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    [Miami Herald]

    Wade's aim: Make bad time better
    'I'll never forget the looks on the players' faces after the game, after being up with 1:27 left,'' said Wade, who will carry that memory with him into tonight's opening game in Auburn Hills, Mich., where the Pistons and Heat meet again for the Eastern Conference title.

    DAN LEBATARD: Will the real Pistons, Heat please stand up?
    The feeling around Heat-Pistons has changed as dramatically as Michael Jackson's face. Detroit, owner of the NBA's best record, has had its aura of invincibility wiped away in the past five games. Miami, herky-jerky owner of a 2-12 record against division winners before the playoffs began, has morphed into something mighty in a single series.

    What is real here and what is illusion?

    Riley's grand plan gets put to the test
    Only now, after 10 months of doubts and debate, do we begin to know the answer to the question that has shadowed and dogged this uneven Heat season:

    Was Pat Riley right?

    Shaq provides pregame hype
    ''Every team that plays us plays above their heads,'' he said. ``That's because of me.

    "They want to beat the Don Dadda.''

    Shaq, aka Superman and The Big Aristotle, is now referring to himself by a term popularized by a Jamaican DJ.

    Pistons elect two-headed Wade stopper
    If it's not Richard Hamilton, it's Lindsey Hunter.

    Both will be primarily responsible for defending Dwyane Wade, and both have been fairly successful at keeping him out of his comfort zones in critical portions of the game.

    [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

    IRA WINDERMAN: Pistons in 7
    -- Because that provides ample wiggle room, with the thought here that only homecourt advantage slides the scale in Detroit's favor.

    -- Because Detroit has won eight of the last 12 meetings dating to April 2005.

    -- Because it is hard to find any single statistic that shows why it shouldn't be Detroit.

    IRA WINDERMAN: Heat is rested, healthy and ready for a Detroit rematch
    The Pistons return virtually the same core that rebounded from a 3-2 series deficit last season to close out the series on the Heat's home floor. The Heat returns not only with new starters in forward Antoine Walker and guard Jason Williams, but with Riley having moved from the front office back to the bench.

    "I mean this is what everybody expected," power forward Udonis Haslem said. "I guess this is what everybody wanted to see. It's time for the games everybody wants to talk about to happen."

    [Palm Beach Post]

    Heat-Pistons: The rematch
    MIAMI — Heat center Shaquille O'Neal was asked this season what it would take to make the Miami-Detroit series one of the NBA's great rivalries. "A fight," he replied with a straight face.

    He was kidding, but as the Heat and Pistons open their second consecutive Eastern Conference finals series tonight at The Palace of Auburn Hills, the seeds for one of those memorable NBA rivalries could be taking root.

    O'Neal is ready for a return to the Shaq Attack days
    Listening to him Monday, and knowing that Miami hasn't played since wrapping up a spot last Tuesday in the Eastern finals, you get the feeling that a good, old-time Shaq attack is due at the Palace. Fewer rest breaks. More shock and awe. No excuses.

    "Shaq wants to win a championship," said Pat Riley, the man who brought the game's most intimidating force to Miami for macho moments just like this. "That's what he is all about. That's what he came here for. He's healthy, Dwyane's healthy, so let's go for it."

    Pistons load up to face O'Neal
    Saunders is ready to call on a couple of 6-foot-11 insurance policies the Pistons obtained this season specifically for an anticipated Eastern Conference finals against the Heat and Shaquille O'Neal.

    "Throughout this year he's mentioned that that was one of the keys for me, to be ready to play Miami," veteran Dale Davis said Monday.

    Davis has played 16 1/2 minutes in 12 playoff games. Kelvin Cato has played 15 minutes. Both will be ready if 6-9 Ben Wallace, the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year, or 6-11 Rasheed Wallace or 6-9 sixth man Antonio McDyess struggle or get into foul trouble.
  2. Zoso

    Zoso First Round Draft Pick

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    ~ Fox Sports ~

    That East matchup everyone has waited for
    By Charlie Rosen

    It's the offensively liberated Pistons vs. the reconstructed Heat in a matchup many had anticipated in the Eastern Conference finals.

    Here's how these two heavyweight teams match up:​
  3. LanierFan

    LanierFan Bench Warmer

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    [Associated Press]

    Riley's Role Players Give Heat Game 1 Win
    AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- The Miami Heat have other players they can go to besides Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade. Good thing, too.

    The veteran trio of Antoine Walker, Gary Payton and Jason Williams - brought on to help O'Neal and Wade get past the Pistons - were so effective in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals that they didn't need superstar efforts from their superstar duo to steal home-court advantage from Detroit.

    [Detroit Free Press]

    Miami 91, Detroit 86: Start sweating
    Evidence of fatigue was strong Tuesday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals. Too many shots clanking off the front of the rim. Too many slow walks up the floor. No spark in the moments when the game stood on the line.

    "Everything was slow -- screens, pushing the ball," Richard Hamilton said. "Everything was a step slow. We have to get over it."

    Despite fouls, Wade whistles a happy tune
    ust before he took the podium, Wade crossed paths with Pistons coach Flip Saunders. They acknowledged each other's presence with a quick nod of the head.

    Then Wade was on his merry way to talk about his 25-point performance in just under 27 minutes, still whistling -- rhythmically if not tunefully -- as he walked.

    Riley: Hack-a-Ben made sense in 4th
    Miami used Hack-a-Ben -- or what Riley calls "the HAB" -- with 2:28 to play in the fourth quarter, just after the Pistons came out of a time-out. The Heat led by 11 at that point. Wallace went to the line and missed both shots.

    "I've been here with the Pistons with leads," Riley said, "and when they get on a run, they get on a run by making threes, which is what they were doing, and getting back in the game. So I think if you're eight to 10 points ahead in the fourth quarter, and you've got a 25% free-throw shooter. I think you have to take your chances on that one possession."

    MITCH ALBOM: Oh, so cold!
    How did they lose? Pick your poison. Poor shooting. Sagging defense. No spark. And a startling inability to attack when the battle was ripe. Dwyane Wade played just 27 minutes? And he still scored 25? The Heat had 52 of their points in the paint? Hey. Why not just give them a ladder? Let's face it. When 37-year-old Gary Payton is racing past you for lay-ups, you are not on your "A" Game.

    "We looked tired the whole night," lamented Tayshaun Prince.

    DREW SHARP: Big Ben needs to chime
    Ben Wallace's funks are becoming more noticeable, as well as the lapses in his signature perpetual intensity.

    He turns it on when the mood strikes, suggesting that he's either deeply bothered with his complete removal from the Pistons' half-court offense or that there's a steadily dwindling reserve of energy in his tank.

    [Detroit News]

    Misfire
    The Pistons' energy seemed to come and go in waves. Give up 33 points in the first quarter, then allow 33 combined over the next two quarters. Go on a 14-2 run at the start of the second quarter, give up an 11-1 run at the end. Fall behind by 16 midway in the fourth before starting to claw back.

    Game report
    "The last four or five minutes of the second quarter might have been the real determining factor in this game. We got a little bit of distance between then."
    Heat coach Pat Riley, on Miami rallying for a 48-44 lead at halftime.


    Poor shooting dooms Pistons
    The Pistons missed 12 straight shots at one point.

    "You cannot put a hand on it," McDyess said. "We are not making shots. Chauncey (Billups) is missing shots. Rip (Hamilton) is missing shots. Something is wrong and we've got to get a hand on it."

    The struggles of Sheed
    Wallace, still laboring on a sprained right ankle, managed seven points, missing 7 of 10 shots. He only had three rebounds and no blocks. The Heat had 52 points in the paint, a lot coming on uncontested layups.

    http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060524/SPORTS0102/605240426/1004
    The Heat had simple goals for Tuesday's Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.

    Get in the Pistons' faces with tight defense. Attack and take the ball inside. And stay calm and poised in the face of a hostile Palace crowd.

    Wade is his own worst enemy
    AUBURN HILLS -- If the Pistons have their way, Miami's Dwyane Wade will be forced to play defense -- a strategy the Pistons hope will sap some of his energy and cause him to be less effective offensively.

    But Wade took matters into his own hands, committing three offensive fouls -- one in each of the first three quarters and spent a lot of time on the bench.

    Grading the Pistons
    Overall: D
    The overall grade was worse than any particular area. It looked like the Pistons got over the top when they took a 60-55 lead, but they went under from there. There was no spark, and the offensive rhythm was missing.

    [Detroit Bad Boys]

    Game 1
    A lot of people are going to say fatigue was a big factor in this game, and they may be right. But if you take out the first quarter, Detroit won this game by three. To me, that looks more like early jitters, because you wouldn't think fatigue would be a factor in the opening minutes. Remember, Miami jumped out to an 11-0 lead to start the game, and even though Detroit had the lead a couple of times later in the game, they were never able to create any kind of cushion.

    The silver lining, though, is that this is supposed to be hard — no one was expecting a sweep. It just hurts that Detroit gave up home court advantage, especially in a game that Miami's big two were limited by foul trouble. What went right? Detroit turned the ball over six times; Miami, 14. Detroit shot 19-22 from the line; Miami, 14-21.

    Like Rip likes to say, "If it's not rough, it's not right." Being down 0-1 is certainly rough; hopefully they can make it right in Game 2.

    [Need4Sheed]

    Uphill Battle - Pistons 86, Heat 91
    Where is the offense? You can't win games shooting as poorly as the Pistons have been lately. Tonight the Pistons shot 37% from the floor and their shot selection was horrible. It's not coming from one player either, it seems everyone has been bitten by the bug. I would give you numbers but honestly I don't think you want to see them.

    When Shaq and Wade were on the bench in foul trouble the Pistons should have taken advantage, but they didn't. There was no urgency in the way they played tonight, and it's been hard to come by at all during this playoff run. The Pistons can't win this series against a well rested Miami team that seems to be in sync with each other.
  4. LanierFan

    LanierFan Bench Warmer

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    [Fox Sports]

    CHARLEY ROSEN: Pistons fall apart against rested Heat
    In Detroit, this one goes down as the Disgrace in the Palace. Even great teams lose playoff games at home, but the Pistons' 91-86 loss to Miami in Game 1 was downright embarrassing.

    The Pistons' handiest excuse is that rust overcame rest. They'd played umpteen games in umpteen days, and were simply too tired to put up much resistance.

    Too tired to do what? Rotate on defense? Set sturdy screens? Make decisive cuts? Hustle in transition? Knock down a reasonable percentage of wide-open gimme jumpers?

    Bah!

    MIKE KAHN: Pistons look like has-beens
    Coming off a grueling seven-game series over the upstart Cleveland Cavaliers, the two-time defending Eastern Conference champion Pistons looked like a different team after fostering the best record in the NBA during the regular season.

    Tuesday night, the Miami Heat made them look like a bunch of has-beens. Scoring with surprising ease against what once was a fearsome defense, the Heat jumped out to a big lead, withstood one furious run by the Pistons, then cruised to a 91-86 win in Game 1 of the East finals.

    [Miami Herald]

    DAN LeBATARD: The Heat quickly silences Pistons to take 1-0 lead
    The Pistons worked for 82 games to get home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. They essentially gave it away on this single night. Or Miami took it from them, if you prefer. The Heat leads this best-of-seven series, 1-0. And here's the best part for the Heat: It beat the team with the league's best record, doing it on the road on a night when Miami's two superstars spent too much time on the bench.

    [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

    Miami Heat Blog: Ira Winderman
    -- All the while, one has to wonder if Rasheed Wallace's ankle problems aren't more severe than the Pistons have let on. He can't be this passive against the Heat, can he?

    -- The myth of the Pistons playing O'Neal straight-up continues to be only that, myth. On the Heat's second possession, and O'Neal's second touch, Detroit immediately sent Tayshaun Prince to help Ben Wallace with O'Neal.

    DAVE HYDE: It's a major first step for Heat
    Worried? Not this Detroit team. Not yet. You watch, they'll spin off this loss as nothing more than a tired team that was just coming off a tough Cleveland series. You don't want to make too much of a first-game win. The Nets' win in Game 1 against the Heat showed that last series.

    That said, Riley couldn't have dreamed a better scenario than this one. Up nine, with 2:28 to go, Riley even got to tweak the Pistons' minds. He had O'Neal wrap up Ben Wallace, the only player who shoots free throws worse than O'Neal. Yep, Hack-a-Ben.

    [Palm Beach Post]

    Injury bug changes course this post-season, hits Detroit
    AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Last year, the Heat's Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O'Neal had to fight through injuries in the Eastern Conference finals against Detroit.

    This year, in the rematch, the Pistons are hurting.
  5. Zoso

    Zoso First Round Draft Pick

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    ~ Booth Newspapers ~


    By Bill Khan

    When we last saw the Detroit Pistons, they were reaffirming their defensive supremacy by making life miserable for a young superstar named LeBron James.

    But two days after holding James to 1-for-9 shooting from the field in the second half of a Game 7 playoff victory against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Pistons' defense was sliced apart by another third-year prodigy, Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat.

    Wade scored 25 points in 26 minutes and 43 seconds of playing time as the Heat beat the Pistons 91-86 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals Tuesday night at The Palace.

    `Hack-a-Ben' strategy pays off
    By Bill Khan

    Pat Riley can only remember using the tactic once before, saying "I was embarrassed by doing it."

    Still, that didn't stop the Miami Heat coach from employing a brief but effective "Hack-a-Ben" strategy on Ben Wallace of the Detroit Pistons in

    Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals Tuesday night at The Palace.
    Wallace was intentionally fouled away from the ball by Shaquille O'Neal with 2:28 left in a game Miami was leading by nine points.

    It was a moment dripping with irony, because O'Neal is a notoriously poor free throw shooter who has been on the receiving end of the "Hack-a-Shaq" strategy throughout his career.

    Wallace missed both free throws and the Heat went on to win 91-86. Wallace has now made an abysmal 6 of 32 free throws (18.8 percent) in his last nine games.

    Fatigue may explain Pistons' poor shooting
    By Ansar Khan

    Despite having just one day's rest after a tougher-than-anticipated seven-game playoff series against Cleveland, the Detroit Pistons didn't think fatigue would be an issue in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against the well-rested Miami Heat.

    But, Pistons guard Chauncey Billups noted that right from the start of Tuesday's game, a lot of his team's shots were hitting the front of the rim, indicating a lack of energy.

    "We were missing so many shots, so many shots that we usually make,'' Billups said. "You've got to give it to them. They played like they were rested.''

    Heat role players come to rescue to beat Pistons
    By A. Sherrod Blakely

    When Miami Heat president (and now coach) Pat Riley made a lot of off-season personnel changes with a Heat team that came within three minutes of getting to the NBA Finals a year ago, many thought he was crazy.

    Miami's 91-86 win against Detroit in the first game of the Eastern Conference finals Tuesday night showed that there was a method to Riley's madness, as his newest players helped propel the Heat to victory.

    "We just flat-out didn't get it done, man," said Pistons center Ben Wallace

    ~ The Oakland Press ~



    By DANA GAURUDER

    Who needs Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade? Not the Miami Heat, at least for one perplexing night at The Palace.

    O'Neal and Wade sat for long stretches of the Eastern Conference finals opener Tuesday night, which should have spelled doom for the Heat.

    Instead, the cold-shooting Pistons looked dazed and desultory as Miami wrested away home-court advantage with a 91-86 win.

    As usual, the Pistons now have to win the series the hard way.

    "It's nothing new for us," Chauncey Billups said. "We always put ourselves in this situation. Not on purpose, they put us in the situation tonight, but we're going to be fine."

    Hot and cold
    hangover? It was more like a coma
    By Keith Langlois

    Three words to describe the Pistons' Game 1 loss to Miami: Clink. Clank. Clunk. That was no hangover. It was a coma. A wakeup call wasn't what they needed. Barely 48 hours after using all seven games to exterminate Cleveland, the Pistons required electroshock therapy. Or at least a week at Club Med.

    But the NBA requires a quick turnaround - well, TV requires programming, more like it - and so the Pistons had barely scrubbed LeBron James out of their pores when Miami dragged them out of bed and assaulted them with Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade.

    The Heat stole Game 1 from the beleaguered Pistons, 91-86, reward for having dispatched New Jersey in five and taking a week off on their way from Miami to Motown.

    Supporting cast is that Heat a surprising lift
    By Pat Caputo

    We learned this much Tuesday night: The Miami Heat are not the Cleveland Cavaliers. They're not a one-man act. Nor a duet.

    The Heat have depth, not only in terms of player personnel, but in regard to character.

    Faced with the prospect of not having Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O'Neal for much of the night because of foul trouble, the Heat won anyway.

    They beat the Pistons, 91-86, in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals because Gary Payton must have drank from the fountain of youth before the game. He was The Glove once more, scoring 14 of the most improbable points you'll ever see.
  6. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    Hit'n Run Panic Attack

    ESPN's Daily Dime


    STAT OF THE NIGHT

    Since 1990, the Game 1 winner of the conference finals has gone on to win the series 29 out of 32 times.


    Elias Says ...
    By Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
    Special to ESPN Insider

    A daily glance inside the numbers from the world of sports:

    The Pistons backcourt had a poor shooting night in Tuesday's 91-86 loss to the Heat. Richard Hamilton shot 9-for-22 from the floor, and Chauncey Billups shot 6-for-19.

    It was the first time in 27 years that both starting guards on one team missed at least 13 field-goal attempts in a conference final or NBA final game.

    The last time was in 1979, when the Sonics lost to the Suns, 103-97, with Gus Williams shooting 4-for-22 and Dennis Johnson shooting 3-for-17.

    Gus's nickname was "The Wizard". Neat-o! Btw, the Sonics won the title that season.
  7. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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  8. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    Fresh off the AP newsfeed my people!

    [MSNBC]


    Payton, Mourning have eyes on the prize
    Veterans came to Heat for title, not money or minutes

    AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - There’s really only one reason why Gary Payton and Alonzo Mourning are still playing.

    It’s not stats; they have more than 35,000 points in 2,100-plus games over 29 seasons. Not respect, since that was earned long ago by 16 All-Star nods and three defensive player of the year awards. And not money, given the combined $230 million in salary they’ve commanded in their careers.




    Pistons must show resiliency — again
    Watch out Miami, Detroit best when behind

    AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - The Detroit Pistons might be the most resilient team in the NBA.

    They’ve bounced back from a 3-2 deficit to win a playoff series in each of the last four postseasons, consistently showing they’re at their best when behind. Just like they are now in the Eastern Conference finals.

    The Miami Heat beat Detroit 91-86 in Game 1 and snatched home-court advantage away from the top-seeded team in the NBA playoffs.
  9. LanierFan

    LanierFan Bench Warmer

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    [Associated Press]

    Pistons Have to Show Resiliency, Again
    Heat guard Gary Payton said Miami can't get cocky because he has not seen a team in his 16-year-career, which includes 14 postseasons, that has had success the way the Pistons have.

    "They're the first ones that get behind, then go to somebody's place and win, like they did last year in Game 7 in Miami," Payton said Wednesday. "I've never seen another team do that."

    Payton, Mourning Coming Up Big for Heat
    "You're talking about guys that are future Hall of Famers," Heat forward Udonis Haslem said. "And there's a reason why they're future Hall of Famers. It's because they didn't settle for just getting a big contract or whatever. They always wanted to get the most out of their opportunity. This is their opportunity."

    [Detroit News]

    Pistons: Let's have fun
    The entire funk can be traced to Game 3 against Cleveland. Up to that point, the Pistons were averaging 106 points in the postseason, and having a blast doing it. It was then that the Cavaliers junked their defense to take away the perimeter and force the Pistons to attack inside. It was then that the Pistons started playing isolation basketball -- which is contrary to Saunders' system.

    "I am not a big iso (isolation) guy," Saunders said. "But we've gotten into that because of how guys are reading it on the floor. We watched film and we've talked about it. That's not who we are. Even though those mismatches might present themselves a lot in a game, playing isolation basketball still takes away from what had been our strength for 82 games."

    Waiting game tries patience of reserves
    "It's just like throughout the year," Davis said. "From my standpoint, I felt like I should have been used in some of the other series, the last series (against Cleveland), but I wasn't.

    "It's tough. I've sat back pretty much all year long and kind of waited for an opportunity and hopefully I'll get an opportunity to get out there and help contribute, but if not, it's not the end of the world, and I'm still going to keep working and when my time comes I just have to be ready. The main thing and purpose is winning. We've been going pretty well throughout the year. I felt like I should have been used some, but I wasn't. I'm keeping a good head and whenever it comes, it comes."

    Pistons hope Rasheed gets more aggressive and angry
    Coach Flip Saunders guessed that Rasheed Wallace 's sprained right ankle was about 75 percent healthy, and he wasn't expecting any upgrades the rest of the series. Wallace's game, however, which operated somewhere in the low 20 percentile Tuesday, has to get better for the Pistons to persevere.

    "He was not Rasheed (in Game 1)," Saunders said of Wallace's seven-point, three-rebound performance. "Miami is making a very committed effort not to give him post-ups. We are going to have to make some adjustments to take advantage of that."

    Terry Foster's Game 2 preview
    The Pistons' starters are tired, and need help. Everybody can see that.

    That's why coach Flip Saunders must get some more time for Antonio McDyess and Lindsey Hunter, and even Carlos Delfino and Tony Delk.

    Tricked-out truck is no joke
    The crown jewel, though, is the 1/25 -scale replica of The Palace basketball court in the bed of the pickup. The court is made from 4,523 pieces of hand-cut, sanded and glued strips of wood. There are 572 seats, which were purchased at a model shop, around the miniature arena. There also is a 17-inch flat screen TV so Morris and Marvin can watch their favorite Pistons highlights whenever they want.

    [Unbelievable. Be sure to check out the photo.]

    Riley says last season is over, has nothing to do with today
    The Pistons have some areas to tighten up for tonight's game. The Heat spent Wednesday contemplating possible countermoves.

    "I really don't know what they will do, but we have an idea of some of the things they have done in the past," Heat coach Pat Riley said. "We did go over those things. I think we have to make our own adjustments, even though we won.

    [Detroit Free Press]

    Don't worry, be Pistons
    "We've got to get back to having more fun on the floor," said Hamilton, who led the Pistons with 22 points in Game 1 but went only 9-for-22. "A lot of times, when we're great, we're smiling, laughing, having a good time.

    "Right now, it's not like that. We're fighting for everything."

    Hamilton draws Wade assignment once more
    It may be up to Hamilton and veteran Lindsey Hunter to stop Wade. On Wednesday, Wade was complimentary of Hunter, who drew an offensive foul on him Tuesday night.

    "You can't make too many moves on him," Wade said of Hunter. "He's a very good position defender. When I got that offensive foul, I made a move, brought it back and made the same move again. I think he read it. He's a very intelligent ballplayer. So, I try not to make too many moves and take what he gives me."

    MITCH ALBOM: Here comes Heat - now plant your feet
    Defense is about stopping the other team. The Pistons must stop Miami's potent punch. And while the traditional block, steal, box-out stuff is all well and good, few things frustrate a player more than a drawn offensive foul because, as Hunter says, "nobody wants to commit a foul when he has the ball."

    So here we go. I say, in the spirit of the team, all fans symbolically should take a charge on their own.

    Riley's veterans come through
    Veterans like Payton and Walker are one difference between this year's Heat and last year's team, which was ousted by the Pistons in the Eastern finals.

    "I've always been around veteran guys," Riley said. "They have the experience, they have the know-how, and as long as their heads are screwed on straight and they really want to win, then I think in these kinds of games the savvy and the experience comes in, and I thought it did last night, and I hope it continues through the playoffs."

    Bad Boys shirts still good
    As the Chicago Bulls ascended to the NBA throne, Bad Boys shirts fell out of fashion, condemned to a charity donation box or a second-class life as something you wore to paint your house or work in the yard.

    So I was impressed when I saw the T-shirts on Ken Grace and Scott Brent at the Palace on Tuesday for Game 1 of the Pistons-Heat series.

    [Detroit Bad Boys]

    Detroit Bad Boys on The Basketball Jones
    Ian appeared on their Eastern Conference Playoff Preview episode last month, and I was invited on last night to talk Pistons-Heat. Readers of this site will appreciate the entire new episode, especially their discussion after my appearance about what the league should do about the ugly Hack-A-Ben and Hack-A-Shaq strategies.

    Who needs to step up?
    If McDyess should be stealing anyone's minutes in this series, is should be those of Rasheed Wallace. After averaging 17.3 points in four regular season games against the Heat, Rasheed wilted with just seven to go along with a paltry three rebounds in 32 minutes. He didn't score his first point until well into the third quarter. Even just a couple of extra points in the first quarter would have made the difference, because, as I pointed out last night, the Pistons outscored Miami over the final three quarters. He was virtually invisible for most of the game. Whether that's the result of his bum ankle, general fatigue or a suddenly difficult matchup is irrelevant — Flip Saunders needs to pull him if he's not producing. The Pistons have proven they can win playing 4-on-5 offense, but they sure as hell don't stand a chance playing 3-on-5. Even if he doesn't bring anything else on offense, Ben almost always brings energy, which is more than can be said for some of his fellow starters.
  10. LanierFan

    LanierFan Bench Warmer

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    [Miami Herald]

    Wade, Heat have their backup plan
    ''I think they're going to be trying to get the ball out of my hands a little bit,'' said Wade, whose 81.8 shooting percentage was the second-highest in a postseason game for a Heat player who attempted at least 10 shots. "I think [Detroit's] going to come with a little more pressure. So the other guys have to be ready to attack when they get the ball.

    "[Forward] Udonis [Haslem] is going to have a big night [in Game 2], especially if they're coming off him like they did toward the end of the game. If they're trapping me at the top of the key, he can get the ball in the middle and really have a great game. Guys have to step up, and I think they understand that. We'll be looking forward to it.''

    [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

    DAVE HYDE: Detroit smug factor too high
    throughout the Pistons' meeting with media Wednesday, a strange undercurrent of entitlement ran through the proceedings. You couldn't take a step without a Detroit media member asking a question like, "What is it about the unbelievable make-up of this team that it always slips in a series, maybe just to create false Freudian challenges for itself, before rallying against some heathen opponent?"

    OK, I altered a couple words. But you get the gist. And it fits the general Detroit media theme, as entering this series there were stories about (a) Shaquille O'Neal being fat and old; (b) "Riley has lost his aura," as one headline read; (c) Dwyane Wade not being LeBron James; and (d) Detroit's the better team.

    Turns out 'Public Enemy No. 1' is really 'a very nice guy'
    Wallace has adopted Kettering in a way. Howard said Wallace was looking for a school that was like those he attended in his native Philadelphia, with students from poor economical backgrounds.

    In March, Wallace's foundation contributed money for a renovation of the school's media center, which got new computers, books, furniture, paint and carpet. Last year he started a program that challenges Kettering underclassmen to read at least five books, show good citizenship and attendance, and earn good grades.

    [Palm Beach Post]

    Look for the real Detroit to return
    This is not the kind of basketball they normally play in Detroit. Step inside the Pistons' practice gym and you will see what I mean. Over there are bunches of long poles leaned against a wall. At the end of each pole is a red boxing glove strapped tight, like the business end of a battering ram. The Detroit media relations people insist those devices are held aloft by coaches during drills, challenging players to shoot higher and thus learn to avoid blocks, but all the same it makes you wonder.

    Do Rasheed Wallace and Chauncey Billups go charging at each other from opposite sides of the gym in unmounted jousting matches after a game like Tuesday's? Is there not enough humiliation and frustration on this roster to imagine it so after a team like Miami scores 52 of its 91 points in the paint?
  11. Zoso

    Zoso First Round Draft Pick

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    ~ Booth Newspapers ~


    By Ansar Khan

    The situation the Detroit Pistons find themselves in is no laughing matter. But it wouldn't hurt to crack a smile, Richard Hamilton said.

    The Pistons guard has an idea on how to snap his team's prolonged offensive slump in the NBA playoffs, which has caused it to fall into a 1-0 hole against Miami in the Eastern Conference finals. And it has as much to do about chuckles and grins as it does shots and screens.

    "I think we have to get back to having more fun on the floor,'' Hamilton said Wednesday. "A lot of times when we're good, we're out there smiling and laughing and having a good time, and right now it's not like that. It's like, `Oh man, we're fighting for everything.'

    Pistons need a mad Rasheed
    By Ansar Khan

    It doesn't take much to rile Detroit Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace. Just ask any NBA referee.

    But, that chip on his shoulder was missing Tuesday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against Miami, as were most parts of his game.

    So perhaps the best way for the Pistons to get even in the series after losing the opener is for Wallace to get mad.

    "I love when Sheed is mad because when he's mad, nobody in this league can stop him,'' Pistons guard Richard Hamilton said. "And when he gets mad he wants the ball every time down the floor. That's the thing we love about him.''


    ~ The Oakland Press ~


    Pistons could be feeling tense after opening defeat
    By Dana Gauruder

    Behind closed doors at the Pistons practice facility, the coaching staff meticulously broke down game film and pointed out flaws. The players drank it all in, then came up to their own conclusions as to how to start playing like a championship team again.

    All season long, the Pistons acted as loose as mischievous school kids without supervision. The cutting remarks, the laughter, the devil-may-care attitude and the you-can'tbeat-us swagger has been silenced lately
    by the pressure of being the playoff favorites.

    That tension has filtered through the locker room, onto the court and even through the stands. Trailing 1-0 in the Eastern Conference finals to Miami, the Pistons have reason to be even more stressed out tonight.

    Pistons missed their chances
    by Paula Pasche

    The Pistons had the open shots all night long. The frustrating thing was that they could not make them.
    In the 91-86, Game 1 loss to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference fi nals, the Pistons hit just 31 of 82 field goals - a lousy 37.8 percent.

    "We're going to go back and look at the tape, but obviously we know the shots we talked about before the game we had them. We just couldn't knock them down," said Chauncey Billups, who was 6 of 19 from the floor (2 of 8 from 3-point range). He finished with 19 points, and only seven of those came in the second half.

    "We got what we wanted, we got exactly what we wanted and we couldn't capitalize on it," Billups said.


    ~ The Grand Rapids Press ~


    By Greg Johnson

    For the entire regular season it was clear the Detroit Pistons were better offensively than they were the past two years. That helped them win a franchise-record 64 games. They scored more. They had greater movement.

    Four of the starters could be dangerous scoring, and Antonio McDyess did some big things off the bench.

    Coach Flip Saunders got a lot of credit for that

    He deserved it.

    Well, suddenly, again, 90 points looks good. And why is it a Pistons player rarely gets a layup?
  12. Zoso

    Zoso First Round Draft Pick

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    ~ The Oakland Press ~

    One bad ankle can derail NBA title run
    By Keith Langlois

    The Super Bowl race is shaped every year by injuries, and we accept that as part of football's DNA. Baseball success is always dependent on nursing those precious arms at the top of the rotation and the back of the bullpen. The Stanley Cup playoffs become a cloak-and-dagger melange of "upper body" and "lower body" injuries, so zealously do teams guard health status for fear of drawing targets around their wounds.

    Basketball? Everybody forgets how injuries shape the NBA postseason. But think back to every signifi cant Pistons stab at a title. They've all been tinged by health issues. Read the inscriptions on the following tombstones:​
  13. LanierFan

    LanierFan Bench Warmer

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    [New York Times]
    For the Mighty Pistons, Winning and Durability Go Hand in Hand
    "We all push each other every day," Hamilton said. "You go down with an ankle sprain, I don't care how severe it is, guys are over your back telling you, 'You ain't hurt.' "

    The players credit their quick recoveries to Arnie Kander, the Pistons' longtime strength coach. Kander is renowned throughout the N.B.A. for his unconventional methods and his blending of Eastern and Western medicines.

    Kander blends his own nutritional drinks, all individually tailored, for each of the Pistons every day. He eschews anti-inflammatories, which other teams dispense by the dozen, in favor of herbal mixtures that naturally drain swelling. And he creates personalized workout regimens designed to correct and maintain the mechanics of each player's body. (Kander immediately knocked on the basketball court when asked about the Pistons' uncanny health.)

    "He's a genius when it comes to this stuff," said Hunter, a veteran of four teams.
  14. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    GAMETIME EDITION

    [Need4Sheed]


    Classic Sheed

    This is a classic Sheed post game interview after game 7 of the Cavs series. My favorite part is when a reporter asks about his Guaransheed.


    The Many Faces Of Sheed



    [The Grand Rapids Press]


    Pistons know the score: They need more points
    by Greg Johnson

    AUBURN HILLS -- For the entire regular season it was clear the Detroit Pistons were better offensively than they were the past two years. That helped them win a franchise-record 64 games. They scored more. They had greater movement.

    Four of the starters could be dangerous scoring, and Antonio McDyess did some big things off the bench.

    Coach Flip Saunders got a lot of credit for that.



    [CBS Sportsline]


    Pistons love to push their luck -- but Heat can push back
    by Tony Mejia

    The Detroit Pistons aren't panicking about their Game 1 setback, having played about as horribly as possible, fatigue rendering them victims of the Miami Heat's fresh legs.

    Detroit likely won't be alarmed if it can't pull off a Game 2 victory, even though heading to South Beach down 0-2 would be a bad idea any way you slice it.


    [USA Today]


    Cavs reward Mike Brown by picking up option
    by Tom Withers, The Associated Press

    CLEVELAND — For the first time in recent memory, the Cleveland Cavaliers made an offseason coaching move that didn't involve someone being hired or fired.

    Mike Brown, who led Cleveland to 50 regular-season wins and the second round of the NBA playoffs in his first year as coach, was rewarded Thursday as the club picked up his $2.5 million contract option.

    Brown signed a three-year, $10 million deal with the option last June when he was named the 17th coach in franchise history — and the Cavs' sixth in six years.

    Hey, it's related. Gotta "Know Your Enemy".

    [Full Court Press]


    Is the Pistons window of opportunity closing sooner than expected?

    ESPN.com polled their NBA experts on some of the more compelling questions about this year's playoffs. Many of the experts give their opinion on the earlier-than-expected crumbling of the Pistons and Spurs dynasties.

    If they don't win this year, the window has closed. One title at the front end of 3 years doesn't bode well as the core ages.
  15. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    [Need4Sheed]


    Pistons 92 Miami 88

    It shouldn't have gotten that close at the end of the game, but WTF?



    [Booth Newspapers]


    Pistons 92, Heat 88
    by LARRY LAGE

    AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — The start, story line and result were different.

    Tayshaun Prince had 24 points and 11 rebounds, Richard Hamilton scored 22 and the Detroit Pistons bounced back — as usual — and held on to beat the Miami Heat 92-88 Thursday night in Game 2, evening the Eastern Conference finals.

    Detroit got off to a great start after an awful one in the opener. Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade's supporting cast was lackluster following its outstanding performance.
  16. LanierFan

    LanierFan Bench Warmer

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    [Associated Press]

    Huge Rally by Heat Falls Short at End
    A stunning flurry at the end couldn't undo the offensive wrongs committed in the first 46 minutes, and the Detroit Pistons managed to even the Eastern Conference finals with a 92-88 win in Game 2 Thursday night.

    Down 83-71 with 1:46 left, the Heat scored 17 points - five more than they managed in the entire opening quarter - in a 97-second span. The rally happened so fast, the principals didn't even realize its scope.

    [SI.com]

    KELLY DWYER: Fast Breaks
    Play of the Night: Big Ben Wallace's energetic play was a welcome addition to a lethargic Game 2. His early offensive contributions and ability to stay a step ahead of Shaquille O'Neal on defense tended to stick out in a nearly three-hour slogfest that included 34 turnovers along with two eight-second violations. One end-to-end run from Wallace, with 9:19 left in the second quarter, did bring a little excitement -- however fleeting. Ben grabbed a long offensive rebound off a Rip Hamilton miss, chucked it out to Lindsey Hunter, who took an ill-advised 3-pointer with 23 seconds on the shot clock. The bomb missed, Wallace grabbed another offensive rebound, and this time looked to pass to a cutting Antonio McDyess, who threw down a dunk. As the Heat dashed to the opposite end of the court, Wallace raced about 85 feet in 10 seconds, and drew a charge call on Dwyane Wade.

    [ESPN]

    DAILY DIME: Living life in the rough
    There's very little margin for error against Miami. The Heat are more than capable of knocking off Detroit and aren't scared of the East power. But with the series tied 1-1 on the way down to South Florida, the Pistons wouldn't want it any other way. If it ain't rough, it ain't right, right?

    "It was fun," Hamilton said. "It's 1-to-1. Now our job is to try to go down there and get one and hopefully do it."

    [Fox Sports]

    MIKE KAHN: Pistons pulled even by playing their game
    The Pistons frontcourt of Rasheed Wallace, Ben Wallace and Tayshaun Prince bounced back strong from a horrid first game in which they combined for 29 points and 23 rebounds, with 49 points and 30 rebounds Thursday night. Prince, in particular, was a factor throughout the game with 24 points, 11 rebounds and a block. But Rasheed Wallace, who had been a non-factor (excluding his mouth) for a couple of weeks, finally made an impact with 16 points and seven rebounds before fouling out.

    That leads us to the unorthodox balance of the Pistons' backcourt. Consider for a moment that Richard Hamilton scored 20 of his 22 points in the first half and Chauncey Billups scored all of his 18 points after intermission. No doubt, this was unusual. More specifically, they played trademark Dee-troit basketball — which is that rare focus on substance as opposed to style.

    [Miami Herald]

    Back at Square One
    ''Guys had shots,'' said Wade, who had 32 points with seven rebounds, five assists and nine turnovers. ``Unfortunately they didn't go down. The problem, to us, wasn't offensive. We got what we wanted offensively. It was defensively early on. They started the game the way we started the other night.''

    DAN LeBATARD: Heat increases its intensity too late after poor start
    All five of Miami's starters were the same Thursday as Tuesday. All five of Detroit's defenders were the same, too. The noise, the hostility, the effort, the venue? All the same. The only thing that was appreciably different? Well, everything.

    The same Heat team that made 75 percent of its shots and scored 33 points in Tuesday's first quarter made 25 percent of its shots and scored 12 points in Thursday's, making you wonder if the rim was covered by an invisible garbage-can lid. The same Dwyane Wade who made his first six shots in Tuesday's first quarter went 0 for 3 in Thursday's.

    As Wade explained, "We came out and missed shots, and they came out and made shots, and that's a big difference.''

    What's hoopening | Tempting comparison
    So here's Hoopening's All-Temptation-Detroit Pistons hit list:

    Get Ready: You think maybe the Pistons should have listened to this one before Game 1, when the Heat ripped off an 11-0 start on its way to a 91-86 victory. By the way, Detroit, the biggest clue was in the opening of the song

    Papa Was a Rolling Stone: This is dedicated to former Pistons coach Larry Brown, who has made more moves off the NBA court than Michael Jordan ever made on it. If the Pistons lose to the Heat, they will be singing the best line in that song with a slight twist ``And when he [left for New York], all he left us was alooooooooone.''

    Ain't Too Proud To Beg: Of course this song belongs to Rasheed Wallace. Just take a look at Wallace after he is called for a foul. He looked like a defense attorney pleading with an official after Wallace was called for a foul on Shaq in the first quarter of Game 2.

    [Maybe the worst article header I've ever seen, "What's Hoopening" also uses a punctuation mark in its headline that doesn't exist in English. But somebody out there will like the Motown angle.]

    [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

    IRA WINDERMAN: Pistons 92, Heat 88
    The lesson of Thursday: You can't count on Antoine Walker, Gary Payton or James Posey. You can just be thankful when they come through. After scoring 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting in Game 1, Walker shot 3 of 12 for 11. After shooting 6 of 8 Tuesday, Payton shot 1 of 6. And after providing a bench sparking on the opener, Posey committed three first-quarter fouls and closed 1 of 6 from the field.

    -- The sense is Detroit has yet to offer its A-game. Rasheed Wallace came around Thursday, but the hunch is Chauncey Billups has much more to offer.

    Sluggish start, inconsistent play dig too deep a hole for Heat
    After two days of being extolled for his offseason front-office moves that landed the likes of Antoine Walker, Gary Payton and James Posey, the Heat's coach might have exited wondering what it would have been like if Eddie Jones, Damon Jones, Keyon Dooling or Rasual Butler still were around to hit a 3-pointer or two earlier in the game.

    With its support system malfunctioning most of the night, the Heat was left with 32 points from Wade, 21 points and 12 rebounds from center Shaquille O'Neal and little else -- save for the furious closing kick.

    [Palm Beach Post]

    2 little, 2 late: Pistons tie series 1-1
    AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Dwyane Wade wasn't in the mood to salute the victorious Detroit Pistons on Thursday night, but he gave it his best parting shot.

    "I'm not like them,'' the Heat guard said. "I'm going to give them credit."

    GREG STODA: Pistons send defenders at Wade
    It was Hunter who most succinctly explained Detroit's defensive tactics.

    "I wanted to make him beat me over the top," Hunter said. "If he's going to hit jumpers all night, I'll shake his hand. But if he gets into the teeth of the defense, he creates so many problems."

    [Blogcritics.org]

    ADAM HOFF: The NBA All-Hands (Raised) Team
    I am about to give you my All-Star team for this particular gesture, but in reality, half the guys in the league could make the team. I'm forced to find serial arm-raisers and guys that constantly perform the arm raise despite getting almost every call, just to separate them from the average babies. It's an epidemic. A pandemic! (I forget - what is the difference?) Anyway, here is the NBA's All-Hands (Raised) Team (only players from playoff teams are eligible) ....

    SF - Tayshaun Prince. This list is full of Spurs and Pistons which is interesting. Perhaps I so enjoy the underdog that guys from these teams just bother me more. Maybe it rubs me the wrong way that these teams get far more calls than everyone else yet still have the gall to freak out whenever they don't happen to get the whistle. Whatever. All I know is that Prince probably leads the league in ARPG. During Game 4 against the Cavs I tabbed him for a whopping 17 in one game.

    I have to believe that is an NBA record. He was raising those lanky arms on foul calls, no-calls, jump balls, teammate fouls, you name it. It got to the point where I was convinced he was simultaneously shooting a deodorant commercial during the game. Prince's backups are Richard Jefferson (he brings the laugh with the arm raise, so that is kind of special), and Corey Maggette (another guy that just gets a ton of calls, yet sprints after the refs in disbelief whenever he doesn't get one).

    PF - Rasheed Wallace. Here we have the most versatile complainer in the NBA. He has the emphatic scream, the stalk, the ball slam, the head hold, the arm swing, the headband spike, and the profanity uttered over the shoulder. I mean, he can do it all. This year he seems to be embracing the trend by focusing mainly on the arms raised beg. I feel bad putting another Piston/Spur on the team, but hey, if the shoe fits, wear it.
  17. LanierFan

    LanierFan Bench Warmer

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    [Detroit News]

    Close call
    "I think it weighs on a defense (when I'm involved)," Ben Wallace said. "Teams can't come down and zone in on what we're doing. We've got everybody involved; now you have to play honest and we're not playing four-on-five.

    "When I get involved in the offense, it forces the team to keep a guy on me and not allow him to roam around. It opens things up."

    It also charges Ben Wallace up on the defensive end. He drew four charging fouls, including three on Shaquille O'Neal, and had 12 rebounds. He was able to play O'Neal straight-up and hold him to a reasonable 21 points.

    Game report
    The Pistons aren't making the hometown bettors happy. They were six-point favorites in the national betting line but won by four and didn't cover the spread. The Pistons have been favored in all 14 of their playoff games. They have covered the spread once -- in Game 7 against Cleveland -- in the last eight games.

    Wallace sets offensive tone for Pistons
    "I think there's no question that when he feels that he's more a part of it, he's going to be more energized," Saunders said. "We used him more offensively and he helped us, got us off to a good start. Ben made good decisions. He had some great passes, great backdoor passes to Rip (Richard Hamilton)."

    ROB PARKER: Heat show their true, cold-shooting selves in loss
    AUBURN HILLS -- The real Miami Heat showed up Thursday night at The Palace.

    Didn't you smell them?

    And don't let the final score block your nostrils.

    [Detroit Free Press]

    Now, exhale
    Wallace was superb when the Pistons need him most, a genuine force on both ends of the floor in a crucial Game 2 against the Miami Heat. He hit his first four shots from the field, collected rebounds over outstretched arms and swatted away statewide anxiety as the Pistons won, 92-88, before another sellout of 22,076 at the Palace.

    Pistons Corner: Delfino gets time, could see more PT
    Delfino played eight minutes Thursday, entering the game with 3:20 remaining in the first quarter as a replacement for Tayshaun Prince. Less than two minutes later, Delfino even picked up his first foul.

    Saunders liked Delfino as a candidate to shadow Miami star Dwyane Wade or forward Antoine Walker. Delfino, who's 6-feet-6, has a two-inch height advantage on Wade. He was a taller alternative to backup guard Lindsey Hunter (6-2).

    One way or another, Delfino's playing time will likely have some relationship to Saunders' schemes against Wade.

    MITCH ALBOM: Whew! Ben's offense lends needed assist
    After the Game 1 loss, the Pistons talked about their standing around, playing one on one basketball., getting away from the joie de vivre of fast passes and easy baskets.

    But after three decent quarters of avoiding that, they seemed to fall back into that habit again. At times in that fourth quarter, they looked like the French Foreign Legion dragging through the Sahara.

    How do you avoid that? Well, one of the ways is to get the ball into Ben's hands. Not necessarily as the final stop. But let him touch it, make the defenders have to at least get in the same zip code as him.

    DREW SHARP: Ben's Pistons smack 'em back
    The ease with which they jumped to a lead against the Heat on Thursday suggests the Pistons have a pretty good grip on their "if it isn't rough, it isn't right" battle cry. But the continued lapses only serve as an indictment against this team's desire to distinguish themselves as the defining team of this era.

    They're good, but they clearly aren't as good as they think they are. They want to win, but they're not sure what they want to be.

    [Detroit Bad Boys]

    Pistons even series with Miami in blowout-turned-squeaker
    Nursing a 10-point lead with two minutes left, Detroit committed a series of ill-timed fouls to stop the clock and extend the game for Miami, allowing the Heat chip away at the lead from the free-throw line. With 18.6 seconds left, the lead was just five points following an Antoine Walker layup. Tayshaun Prince couldn't find an open teammate on the ensuing attempt to inbound the ball, and Detroit turned the ball over on a five-second violation when referee Dick Bavetta missed a rather obvious attempt by Prince to call a timeout.

    After Dwyane Wade scrambled to the corner to hit a fadeaway three on the next possession, Detroit's lead was suddenly just two points, much to the dismay of the thousands of fans who left the Palace early and were listening in their cars.

    ALSO:
    Pistons on the Great Wall of China

    [DetroitPistons.com]

    DAVID WIEME: Hairy Chests, Jersey Rules, Evil Empires and a Security Salute
    Who said that the NBA season is a marathon, not a sprint? Whomever it was…there was another person who knew what they were talking about. Do you realize that we have been playing since October 11, 2005? Yes, sports fans, that is 226 days of NBA basketball, pre-season to playoffs. Really, though would you have it any other way?
  18. LanierFan

    LanierFan Bench Warmer

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    [Motoring]

    8: The script II
    The first quarter was brutal. The Pistons dominated the Heat up and down the court as we called a fair game. I met up with Dick and Ron as the second quarter was starting.

    Dick: Alright, the Pistons have a larger lead than we had imagined. This just means we have to do our real jobs a little more. Let’s get the Heat back into this.

    Acknowledgements were heard all around as we went to work.

    [Need4Sheed.com]

    Pistons 92 Heat 88
    It shouldn't have gotten that close at the end of the game but WTF?

    ALSO:
    Illustration Gallery: The many faces of Sheed
  19. LanierFan

    LanierFan Bench Warmer

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    [Yahoo! Sports]

    STEVE KERR: Settling the score
    Sequence of the night: With just a couple of minutes remaining in the second quarter, Miami cut the Detroit lead to four points and threatened to ruin what was a fine first-half effort by the Pistons. Antoine Walker broke free for a long pass from O'Neal that should have resulted in a layup, but Walker fumbled the ball out of bounds. Detroit then made a push, scoring the final seven points in the quarter to take an 11-point halftime lead. The Pistons then controlled the second half and withstood a furious last-minute Miami rally.

    DAN WETZEL: Pistons' turbo charge
    Getting Ben going was, perhaps, Larry Brown's greatest secret the past two years. He understood his center's psyche better than anyone. During Detroit's title run in 2004, Wallace averaged 10.3 points and 14.3 rebounds (4.2 offensive) a game. Brown routinely ran plays for him early, even having him take 8- to 10-foot jumpers.

    But coming into Thursday's game, Wallace was averaging just 4.2 points and 11.2 rebounds (3.2 offensive) in the postseason.

    Saunders is known as a great offensive coach, which might be why he almost never calls a play for a guy who can't score. Brown is considered a great coach, period, which might be why he always was willing to risk a miss in order to get his big horse engaged and energized.

    "We haven't used him lately," Saunders admitted. "I think, as I told our guys prior to the game, we needed to get back to having an equal-opportunity offense, where it wasn't just geared towards one individual."
  20. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    [Northeast Ohio News Herald]


    This Day in Sports

    1987 - In one of the more memorable NBA playoff games in recent memory, the Detroit Pistons held a 107-106 lead over the Boston Celtics in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals. With only seconds remaining, and most of the Pistons running up the court celebrating an apparent victory, Detroit's Isiah Thomas' inbounds pass was stolen by Larry Bird, who found a wide open Dennis Johnson for the game-winning lay up with just one second remaining. The Celtics would go on to win the series.


    [Coalition to Advance the Protection of Sports logos (CAPS)]


    NBA Issues Warning to Pistons Fans: Beware of Counterfeit Merchandise; Team's Success and Popularity Surrounding NBA Conference Finals has League and Law Enforcement Officials on the Lookout For Counterfeiters

    DETROIT--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 26, 2006--After two consecutive years in the NBA Finals, the Detroit Pistons are well on their way again, having advanced to the NBA Western Conference Finals to battle the Miami Heat. The team's consistency on the court has resulted in a high demand for Pistons apparel and other memorabilia, making unsuspecting fans a prime target for counterfeiters selling illegal and poorly produced knock-off merchandise.

    The counterfeiters' victims include legitimate retailers in the Detroit area, as well as Pistons fans who believe they are purchasing authentic merchandise, only to learn later that they have obtained counterfeit products of inferior quality.



    [Sports Illustrated]


    In search of gray skies
    Pistons are at their best when backed into a corner
    by Ian Thomsen

    A clash of cultures is less than a fortnight away, and nothing less than the soul of basketball is at stake. From the West will arrive an NBA Finalist -- either the Suns or Mavericks -- running and leaping like gazelles out of Pat Riley's 1980s Lakers highlight films. From the East they will be met by an opponent as physical and disruptive as Riley's '90s-styled Knicks.
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