View Full Version : Tuesday articles - Detroit (game 7 Sunday night)

05-17-2005, 09:19 AM
Seems like the Detroit writers have their bags packed and reservations made for Miami already


Pistons can take easy road to Miami by quickly putting Pacers to pasture

By Rob Parker / The Detroit News

In reality, the Pistons should be closing out their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Pacers tonight at The Palace.

The Pistons know it. The Pacers know it.

In fact, everybody who follows the NBA knows it.

Instead, the series is 2-2. The Pistons let the Pacers back in it by losing focus for 1 1/2 games.

And it cost them two games.

Still, it wasn't anything the Pacers did. It was what the Pistons didn't do.

Make no mistake about this series: The Pistons control it.

Now, the Pistons can make it easy again by beating the Pacers the next two games and moving on to face the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals.

Or they can mess around and finish this series in seven games.

It's not a question of if, but really, when.

"It's hard to say why you let up like that," Pistons president Joe Dumars said. "It's nothing more than human nature that people let up sometimes.

"The real test is, can you recover from it?"

Clearly, the Pistons can.

The last four postseasons, the Pistons have made it their MO -- a couple of bad losses at home, such as Game 2 against the Pacers, and then a rebound.

Still, there's never any fretting, never any woe-is-me talk.

They've simply learned to live with this problem. That's what makes this team so resilient. Nothing seems to shake it or disrupt what the ultimate goal is.

"We were in trouble a few times last year," said Darvin Ham, whose team lost Game 4 at home last year that tied the Eastern Conference finals against the Pacers, 2-2. "It is what it is."

The Pistons seem to like this system of being pushed and having others tell them they aren't good enough to get the job done.

Then again, this team is made up of players other franchises didn't think could ever rise to a championship level.

"It has been good for us in the past, to get a jolt," Dumars said. "When we've stumbled, we've always found a way to recover in a positive way."

Maybe if there were a clear superstar, someone others could hitch their wagon to and look for a clear passage, it wouldn't have to always be difficult. It's just not the case.

But no matter how bad things get, they never panic. They never point fingers. They take their lumps and simply move on.

It's a mark of a champion.

"The experience helps out, obviously," Tayshaun Prince said.

So does solid Pistons defense. The Pacers have shot 38 percent overall, 27 percent from three-point range.

"We're playing a great defensive team in Detroit," Pacers guard Reggie Miller said.

Said Rip Hamilton: "We have to go out there with that mentality that, regardless if everything is going great and all good, we still have to come out and play even harder. We can't relax. I think early we relaxed and things like that. We can't do that. It's playoff basketball. Sometimes, we learn the hard way. Now we have to continue to play the way we're supposed to play."

You can reach Rob Parker at rob.parker@detnews.com.

05-17-2005, 09:20 AM
Billups is top-shelf talent by any name

Pistons point guard has lived up to Brown's billing as "The Blanket" with sound defense.

By Jim Spadafore / The Detroit News

Daniel Mears / The Detroit News

Coach Larry Brown does what he does best: Teaching Tayshaun Prince and the rest of the Pistons during practice.

AUBURN HILLS -- Larry Brown has called Chauncey Billups "The Blanket" because of his defense.

Billups also is called "Mr. Big Shot" because of his ability to make a shot with a game on the line.

Rasheed Wallace has another nickname for Billups.

"I would call him more like 'The Mitten,'" Wallace said Monday after practice.

When told of Wallace's nickname, Billups just laughed.

"That boy's crazy, man," Billups said. "Anything he says, do not take seriously. He's silly."

The nickname plays off the one given to Celtics guard Gary Payton, who is known across the NBA because of his defensive prowess as "The Glove."

Billups lived up to his nicknames in Game 5. He played tight defense on Pacers point guard Jamaal Tinsley, who had seven turnovers.

And, by the way, Billups had 29 points and six assists.

Taking charge

In Game 1 against the Pacers, Billups attempted six shots. He was more concerned with running the offense and getting his teammates involved.

In Game 4, Billups looked for his shot at the start and he made 10 of 20 field-goal attempts.

Wallace said he could tell by just looking into Billups' face that he was going to have a big game.

"It's probably more the look on his face," Wallace said.

"But, I mean, it's all on his face. When he's hitting that shot you know it's really on for him. But it's all over his face when you see it."

What's the look?

"Like a cold look, cold stare," Wallace said. "That means he's focused. You can see it in his eyes."

Posting up

Tinsley hurt the Pistons in games 2 and 3, but Billups clearly won the matchup Sunday. Billups, who is 6-foot-3, 202 pounds, used his size to work down low against Tinsley (6-3, 192) or anyone else the Pacers threw at him.

"That's part of my game that I think I can do most of the time," Billups said about posting up.

Pistons focus

A lot had been made that the Pistons play better and respond when they face adversity, and when they're the underdogs, such as last year against the Lakers in the NBA Finals.

Brown doesn't believe the talk that adversity brings out the best in the Pistons. Many analysts predicted that the Pistons would have an easy time against the Pacers.

"If I had my druthers, we'd be resting like Miami," Brown said. "But I do think sometimes we don't give the other team credit. Because when we lose a game doesn't necessarily mean we played poorly. Maybe they had a lot to do with that."

You can reach Jim Spadafore at (313) 223-4638 or jim.spadafore@detnews.com.


05-17-2005, 09:21 AM

Courtside spot is top-dollar ticket

Rock Financial is among 3 groups to pay thousands for Palace seats next to benches.

By Angelique S. Chengelis / The Detroit News

AUBURN HILLS -- They are the most coveted seats in the house, which also makes them the most expensive.

In mid-March, the Pistons began offering four floor seats beside either team bench at The Palace.

Initially dubbed "The Jack Nicholson Seats" because of their location -- the actor is noted for sitting right next to his beloved Lakers at the Staples Center -- purchasing them requires deep pockets.

And sitting in them requires connections.

"The first game they were in (March 16), I had a half-dozen calls the next day from people who wanted to know how they could get those seats," said John Kapral, senior director of corporate sales for the Pistons.

They are now referred to as the Super-VIP seats, and they offer untold access to conversations among players and coaches on the respective benches.

But court viewing can be obstructed.

Pistons coach Larry Brown, for instance, frequently gets up and stands, blocking the view of those fans. And the players are often in the way when they are headed to the scorers' table for substitutions.

Rock Financial, which has a sponsorship deal with the Pistons, has committed through the playoffs to the four seats next to the home team. They were the regular-season price of $1,500 apiece during the first round, $2,000 for the current round, and will increase to $2,500 apiece if the Pistons are in the Eastern Conference finals and $5,000 if they reach the NBA Finals.

"They jumped on them as soon as we offered them," Kapral said. "It's a phenomenal (business) perk."

Two groups have purchased the other four seats -- two apiece -- next to the visiting bench throughout the playoffs. They did not want their identities made public.

Rock Financial's seats are predominantly used as an employee perk, a reward for good service.

But during the first round, LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are owned by Dan Gilbert, the chairman and founder of Quicken Loans and Rock Financial, was seated there.

"They (Rock Financial officials) use them in all different ways," said Howard Rosner, director of corporate sponsorship for the Pistons. "They take care of people internally and externally. They use them as a reward for people. Rock has loved them. It's a unique opportunity for them."

David Hall, senior vice president for Rock Financial, said the seats have been used to boost employee morale and for some of the company's top clients and business partners.

"The No. 1 thing we've used it for is internally with some of our really good teammates, folks who have been with us a long time and have done great work for us," Hall said. "It's just a great employee benefit for us."

Hall said Rock Financial passed on the opportunity to purchase all eight Super-VIP seats for obvious reasons.

"We wanted to be over by the Pistons," Hall said. "Our allegiance is with them, and we think it's somewhat symbolic of the fact we're hopefully aligned with the Pistons and we're there with them, so we just want to sit in the seats next to them."

There also are VIP seats -- the 142 along the rest of the court that make up the first row. They are spoken for.

"We haven't had anything come open in four years," Kapral said.

Kapral said it is possible the Pistons could add four additional Super-VIP seats on both sides of the team benches, but that would impinge on the media section.

"There are certain parameters the NBA has for media seating," Kapral said. "We would have to shorten the press table, so that could be a problem."

You can reach Angelique S. Chengelis at angelique.chengelis@detnews.com.

05-17-2005, 09:24 AM


Coach can give Pistons edge they need against Indiana
May 17, 2005


And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why you have Larry Brown.

Three games against archrival Indiana, gotta win two. And if the Pistons do that, they move on to the Big Pain in the Butt, Shaquille O'Neal.

Brown had a strange year. He moaned. He treated the brawl at the Palace like a death in the family -- his own. He played spin the bottle with the Knicks. He said he might retire for health reasons, then, thanks to some mysterious wonder medication, returned to coaching the next day.

Some people ripped him for it. OK, I ripped him for it. And I meant it.

As the Pistons discovered, they didn't really need Larry Brown this season. They could have won 50 games with Coach from "Cheers."

But right now, in the thick of a great playoff series ... well, this is why you have Larry Brown. This is why you deal with all his quirks. The man is one of the best coaches in the history of the game, and now he can show it yet again.

The Pistons and Pacers are an exact DNA match. It's not like Brown can suddenly fool Indiana and Rick Carlisle.

But coaching will be a factor.

"Oh, yeah," Pistons point guard Chauncey Billups said Monday. "It's in-game adjustments."

By making wise substitutions and tweaking matchups, Brown can give his guys a little bit of an edge. He was outcoached in Game 2 of this Indiana series by Carlisle. That happens, even to stellar coaches like Brown.

Now Brown has to gain the advantage. Some folks say that's tough, because the Pistons don't have a bench.

It's true that the Pistons don't have a bench. They use chairs instead. But the players sitting there are far more talented than people realize.

If they aren't producing, it might be because they don't get a chance.

"We ain't getting a significant amount of minutes," said backup power forward Antonio McDyess. "We ain't getting a significant amount of shots. The most we can do is just go out there and play defense and get rebounds.

"When we don't provide points, it's because we don't get shots, and that's because we ain't getting as many minutes. So I don't look at it and take it personally."

If the Pistons fail to win the championship, I fully expect Brown to use the "weak bench" excuse. For all his brilliance, the man keeps excuses on speed-dial, ready to be called upon at any time.

Look at his history. Brown has coached only one other team that was supposed to win a championship: last summer, in the Athens Olympics. And he read from a rare Biblical text, the Book of Excuses, before his team even played an Olympic game. He said the team was constructed poorly, he didn't have the right pieces, the players' socks didn't match, blah, blah, blah.

Now look at this year's Pistons bench. Carlos Arroyo started 71 games for Utah last season. He scored 12.6 points a game. He's only 25, a little young for memory loss, so it's not like he suddenly forgot to play.

Yet Brown didn't even give Arroyo a minute of playing time in three of four games before playing him for 12 minutes Sunday.

It's not just Arroyo. The Pistons used their last roster spot on Darvin Ham, a Brown favorite. I have absolutely nothing against Ham -- a hardworking, team-first guy -- but if it's just your last roster spot, why not give it to the player with the most potential to help?

After all, if you get nothing out of your 12th guy, it's no big deal. But if you get something -- wow, what a lift.

Carlos Delfino could have provided that something. Yes, he was slow in returning from his knee injury. But when healthy, Delfino is simply more skilled than Ham. And again, if it is only your 12th roster spot, why not give it to the guy who could give you a bigger lift -- even if it's a longshot?

Officially, this was Joe Dumars' call. But I suspect that Delfino, like Arroyo, made a foolish mistake. He was born too late for Brown's liking. Delfino is 22. Arroyo is 25. And Brown, whose perfectionism makes him such a great coach, has trouble with the imperfections of younger players.

When he coached Indiana, Brown Krazy-Glued a young Jalen Rose to the bench. (Rose thrived as soon as Brown left.) In Philadelphia, Brown shipped out Larry Hughes, Matt Harpring and Speedy Claxton way too early in their careers.

And of course, Brown used his Olympic bench to open a Futures Wing of the Basketball Hall of Fame. LeBron James, Amare Stoudemire and Dwyane Wade -- three of the NBA's brightest stars -- all sat behind lesser players.

That's part of Larry Brown. You hire him, you get the whole package -- you can't just pass him through an eccentricity filter. Now it's time for Brown to help his team pull through, the way he did last year, the way Hall of Famers do.

Contact MICHAEL ROSENBERG at 313-222-6052 or rosenberg@freepress.com.

05-17-2005, 09:25 AM
This is reason enough to have Jackson on the team. He is good for chemistry


Plenty of action with this Jackson

Pacers forward adds spice on and off court
May 17, 2005


INDIANAPOLIS -- His teammates know they can always rely on him for a laugh, and Stephen Jackson would have it no other way. He likes being everyone's cheerleader, he likes for people to realize he can almost always see the positive in things, except perhaps for playing at the Palace.

Jackson's spirits after tonight's Game 5 are likely to be the same as they were after each game that has left this second-round series tied 2-2: Soaring. Win or lose, Jackson looks down at his Pacers uniform, or looks across at all the guys around him, and realizes that he's still among the luckier people in the world, even if when he says it, it comes out much funnier.

Like, for example, Monday after practice, Jackson was asked about how poorly the Pacers had played at home in Game 4, wasting a gem of an opportunity to put the Pistons in a stranglehold, and this is what he had to say: "It's not the end of the world. Saddam is not blowing up Conseco. We're fine."

There you have: Saddam Hussein is in custody; all's right with Jackson's world. This is who Jackson is.

"He's always very happy and that's always something nice to have around, especially after a loss," teammate Jeff Foster said. "Jack is one of a kind and we're blessed to have him."

Jackson's enthusiasm off the court reflects the spitfire of energy he is on the court. Many opposing small forwards dread guarding Detroit's Tayshaun Prince because of Prince's length, but Jackson has embraced the task, and the result is Prince has been almost a non-factor on offense. Prince has shot 4-for-16 the past two games, scoring just 16 points.

"Hey, I'm just playing hard," Jackson said. "The kid is long as I don't know what. His three-ball is starting to fall so you've got to respect his outside shot, and I think he has one of the best left hooks in the game, so I'm just playing hard, trying to make him uncomfortable and make him take as many outside shots as possible."

Jackson, 27, has been almost as impressive at the other end, where he has managed to shoot over Prince with more success than most opponents. Jackson led his teammates Sunday with 23 points, shooting 6-for-13 from the field and 9-for-10 from the free-throw line, and playing so aggressively everyone from Ben Wallace to Richard Hamilton to Rasheed Wallace fouled him.

His energy is what makes him successful, but also what sometimes makes him do the wrong thing. On Nov. 19 he charged into the stands after Ron Artest, and while he's used to fans jeering him, he admits the Palace crowd gets to him.

"I don't enjoy it because it's for the wrong reasons," he said. "It isn't because I play basketball it's because they all want to fight me. If I could, I would play with ear plugs."

Oh well. This is but a slight aberration in Jackson's daily life, and the remedy is the same as it is for a loss: Just take a look around the world. How can he not be full of cheer?

"There are a million people who want to be in my shoes, a million people that want to be in the NBA, there's a million people that want to be in the playoffs, there's a million people that want to play for the Pacers," he said. "I'm blessed to be here, so I wake up every morning happy."

Contact HELENE ST. JAMES at 313-222-2295 or stjames@freepress.com.

05-17-2005, 09:26 AM

William C. Rhoden, N.Y. Times: So much for the little engine that could.

Detroit crushed the Indiana Pacers, 89-76 (Sunday). And while the series is tied at two games apiece, the NBA-champion Pistons are clearly in control. The Pacers' engrossing climb up the mountain is coming to an end: Jermaine O'Neal's right shoulder is hurting, Reggie Miller, the hero of Game 3, is looking 39, and the Pistons are doing what everyone expected them to do when the series began.

Too bad.

The only riveting story of the playoffs was the Pacers' spunk after injuries and brawl-induced suspensions left them decimated. As long as they won, there was tension. Although the quality of play is great, now the tension is waning, and interest in the playoffs may be as well.

Jason Whitlock, Kansas City Star: OK, it's about time we started giving Larry Brown's Detroit Pistons the respect they deserve.

Shaquille O'Neal and the Miami Heat have yet to unseat them as Eastern Conference champs, and the Pistons' performance Sunday afternoon inside Conseco Fieldhouse gave us an indication of just how difficult Shaq's task will be.

The Pistons, defending world champions, won't go quietly. The surprisingly game Indiana Pacers had a chance to bury them Sunday. Up a game in the best-of-seven series, Indiana could have taken total control of these Eastern semifinals with a victory in front of its rabid fan base in game four.

Instead, the Pacers surrendered momentum to Detroit. Well, that's not accurate. The Pacers didn't surrender. Chauncey Billups and Rasheed Wallace Piston-whipped them on both ends of the court.

05-17-2005, 09:27 AM


Sorry, stats don't lie: Series has been dead heat

May 17, 2005


The Pistons-Pacers playoff series is comparable to backyard pickup games between relatives, except on a higher level.

The Eastern Conference rivals have played each other eight times this season, including the playoffs, after meeting 10 times last season, including the playoffs.

They know each other's tendencies, strengths and weaknesses.

"There's not any other team that we know as well as we know Indiana," said Pistons guard Chauncey Billups, the hero of Game 4 with 29 points.

"And there's not a team that knows us as well as Indiana knows us because of Rick being here."

Rick Carlisle was the Pistons' coach before he became the Pacers' coach.

So how do you separate one team from the other with the series tied at 2-2 heading into tonight's Game 5 at the Palace?

Both teams have won on the other's floor in this second-round series.

Indiana has won three of its last four meetings at the Palace. The Pistons have won four of their previous five at Conseco Fieldhouse.

"We know we can win there, so we just have to look forward to going to Detroit," Pacers forward Jermaine O'Neal said.

Both teams also are known for defense, and they know how to create turnovers. In three of the four games, the loser has turned it over 18 times.

When the Pistons keep Stephen Jackson and Jamaal Tinsley from penetrating and kicking the ball out to an open teammate, they usually control the game. When Jeff Foster provides offensive rebounding and energy off the bench, the Pacers have been hard to stop.

When Detroit's big men -- Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace and Antonio McDyess -- control action underneath the basket, the Pistons have imposed their will on the Pacers.

Going into Game 5, neither team has a real advantage.

"I look at the kind of season they've had and what they've had to overcome and what we've had to overcome," Pistons coach Larry Brown said.

"You saw the way they competed in the Boston series, being down. Every time they were down they came back, so we're playing against a team that's well coached with a lot of character.

"In the regular season, we split with them. Last year, they were as good as anybody in the league. They're as healthy as they have been all year."

Brown said if he had his druthers, the Pistons would have swept the series in four games and be sitting at home waiting for the Eastern Conference finals, as the Miami Heat is doing now.

But the Pacers have overcome suspensions, injuries and the loss of Ron Artest, and they're right back where they were last year -- tied with the Pistons after four games in a playoff series.

The only differences: Game 5 is in Auburn Hills instead of Indianapolis, and last year the teams met in the conference finals instead of the semifinals.

"I just think sometimes we don't give the other team credit," Brown said. "You lose a game, it doesn't necessarily mean we played poorly. They had a lot to do with that.

"I think after Game 1 Rick said it best: We did all the things that help you win. In Game 2 and 3, I think they completely turned that around. They did all the things. They set good screens, they executed, they made hustle plays."

As for offense, the series has been a mess for both teams. The Pistons are averaging 85.5 points, the Pacers 82.0.

Indy is shooting a woeful 38% from the field; the defending champs are shooting 41.5.

Indiana hasn't found any answers from three-point range, shooting just 23.6% to 27.6% by the Pistons. Three Indy starters -- O'Neal, Reggie Miller and Jackson -- have shooting percentage in the low 30s, and two subs -- Anthony Johnson and Fred Jones -- are shooting 29.4.

For the Pistons, Rasheed Wallace is shooting 39% and Lindsey Hunter 31.6.

But when each knows the other so well, that's not unusual.

"We could run new plays, and it wouldn't matter," Billups said. "The thing now is that we have to protect home court. They've won here, and we've won in Indiana. We let home court get away one time, and we've learned from that."

McDyess said: "It seems like we play better when there's controversy or our backs are against the wall. The other night we didn't have any choice but to go out there and do what we had to do."

They won Sunday's Game 4 at Indianapolis.

It would be in their best interest to play the same way tonight.

Contact PERRY A. FARRELL at 313

05-17-2005, 09:28 AM

WORKING OT: Two cents work on the Pistons

May 17, 2005

•So the Heat swept another series and gets to sit back, watch the Pistons-Pacers and let Shaq recuperate. That's OK. Larry Brown is resting Elden Campbell for the conference finals, too.

•Just wondering -- did Rasheed invite Jermaine O'Neal over Monday night to watch the "Everybody Loves Raymond" finale?


First things first, though, such as this little best-of-three series the Pistons have against Indiana. So what's going to happen? There are two ways to look at it:

The dark side

•We keep hearing the experts predict Reggie Miller could get hot and steal a game. Hasn't happened yet, but ... you never know.

•What if David Stern has a change of heart -- maybe swayed by all these warm and fuzzy interviews Ron Artest is doing suddenly -- and reinstates him?

•What if Larry Bird reinstates himself and shows Reggie how to hit a three?

The bright side

•Rasheed could guarantee two more wins. Money.

•David Stern could get mad about being booed at Conseco the other night and suspend some more Pacers.

•The better team wins.


Here's one of those weird Internet polls, on NBA.com, no less. The question is, "Which player has been the most impressive so far in the conference semifinals?"

With about 125,000 votes in, Miami's Dwyane Wade was the runaway leader with 67%, followed by Phoenix's Amare Stoudemire with 16%.

No problem there, but Indiana's Reggie Miller was third with 8%. Reggie Miller? The same Reggie Miller who's averaging 12.3 points and shooting 16.7% from three-point range this series?

Why is he even a nominee instead of, say, Chauncey Billups, who's averaging 19 points in the series?

Maybe the votes for Chauncey -- or all the Pistons who weren't on the ballot -- are among the 5% in the "other" category, which was beating San Antonio's Tim Duncan's 4%.


Wade has led Miami to a couple of wins without Shaquille O'Neal, but Heat players admit they'll need Shaq to go further.

"Ultimately, we need the big fella to get where we want to go," Heat guard Keyon Dooling told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "When you have the most dominant force in basketball, you don't want to see him sitting on the sidelines."

Only trouble is, the Heat doesn't seem to know whether Shaq's bruised thigh is getting any better.


The NBA Jam Van -- a 67-foot 18-wheeler packed with all sorts of interactive hoops games and activities -- will be parked at the Big Buck Brewery and Steakhouse, 2550 Takata Dr., Auburn Hills, 5-10 tonight.


•Zenmaster Phil Jackson, quoted in the L.A. Times on his old team, the L.A. Lakers: "Their current roster is not appealing at all. It's obvious they have a roster that's limited because it's capped out. It's going to take a while to clean that up. They had performers that were paid big money that were incapable of performing."

•Chris Webber, issuing a statement denying reports he isn't happy in Philly: "It's a lie. There's no way it was true. I have no issue with Allen Iverson, and I look forward to next season and building a championship team."

•Joe Dumars, asked by the N.Y. Times if the NBA should find a way to get big stars on big-market teams: "When you create a system where LeBron, Kobe and Shaq always end up in New York or L.A., then you're asking everyone else to be the Washington Generals."

05-17-2005, 09:28 AM

PISTONS CORNER: Off the court, two rivals chill together

Rasheed, O'Neal like brothers
May 17, 2005


Rasheed Wallace and Jermaine O'Neal usually don't bring up basketball when they get together off the court.

They go hard against each other during games, but Saturday night they sat at O'Neal's house and watched the Winky Wright-Felix Trinidad fight, won by Wright in punishing fashion. Wallace took on any comers who thought Trinidad had a chance against Wright and made sure those in his locker room knew his prediction and the subsequent outcome.

Wallace then went out and helped hold O'Neal to 4-for-15 shooting Sunday in the Pistons' 89-76 victory.

In the past two games, O'Neal has shot 6-for-26 from the field, or 23.1%, and averaged nine points and 9.5 rebounds. Wallace has shot 14-for-34 -- 41.2% -- and averaged 15 points and 10.5 rebounds

Wallace, 30, and O'Neal, 26, played together for four years in Portland, and the relationship is sort of big-brother, little-brother.

"Pretty much when we're together we don't talk basketball too much; we talk about life," Wallace said. "Jermaine's a close friend. I know his wife, his daughters, his family. He's a dear friend. We talk about how the kids are doing and other little things. When we're chillin', we don't talk basketball. In the off-season we don't talk about basketball at all."

The Pacers expect more scoring from O'Neal, who's averaging 15.5 points in the four-game series.

"As a coach, I've got to do things to get him better shots," coach Rick Carlisle said. "I'll take some blame for that."

O'Neal said: "It's a cycle in basketball. I'm a believer that you should never get too hot or too cold."

Wallace is the Pistons' third-leading scorer in the series at 13.8 points. He's also averaging three blocked shots and 8.5 rebounds. His 17-point, 12-rebound, five-blocked-shot effort Sunday helped tie the series, 2-2.

"Hopefully, the way we're thinking right now there won't be a Game 7 here," Wallace said after Monday's practice. "If we go out and do what we have to do, we don't have to worry about that.

"It's still anybody's game right now. We just had an important thing to do yesterday, which was go ahead and get that win because we couldn't afford to be down, 3-1, to Indiana. They're too good of a ballclub. That's what we're going to have to do tomorrow. They will adjust. Carlisle is too good of a coach to sit there and do nothing. As far as the adjustments themselves, I don't know, but I know they're coming."

NOTEBOOK: If the series goes to a Game 7, it will be televised Sunday on TNT at 7 or 8 p.m. Game 6 is scheduled for 8 p.m. Thursday at Indianapolis on ABC. ... The Pacers have shot 40% or below in four straight games against the Pistons and seven of their last 11 playoff games. In those four games, they've made only 17 of 72 three-point attempts for 23.6%. Reggie Miller has gone without a triple in four of the last five games and has shot 3-for-20 from three-point range during that span for 15%.

Contact PERRY A. FARRELL at 313-222-2555 or farrell@freepress.com.

05-17-2005, 09:29 AM


INDIANAPOLIS -- Half an hour after practice ended Monday, Jermaine O'Neal ambled around one end of the practice court at Conseco Fieldhouse, honing his shot.

O'Neal declined to talk to reporters, but then again, what could he say that he hadn't said the day before? O'Neal is the Pacers' star player, but entering tonight's Game 5 at the Palace, he has played like one in only two of 20 quarters.

O'Neal has shot 6-for-26 in the past two games, and it hasn't all been Detroit's defense. Sunday in Game 4, O'Neal got good shots but made only four of 15 attempts. So, a day later, there was O'Neal, stroking the ball as he made his way around the arc, leaving his teammates to speak for him.

"Any person that loves the game and loves playing basketball, any time you have a bad game, you feel upset," Stephen Jackson said.

It would be one thing if it were only O'Neal who had a bad game Sunday, but both he and Reggie Miller shot poorly, and Jamaal Tinsley, whose ability to control the offense was the reason the Pacers won Games 2 and 3, committed seven turnovers and made just one assist. But Miller is 39 years old, and Tinsley is only seven games into his return from a two-and-a-half month injury layoff. The guy the Pacers need most was exactly where he needed to be after practice, doing exactly what he must do if Indiana wants to continue to play. Jackson, at least, vouched that O'Neal is well aware of his responsibilities.

"He knows in order for us to win this series, he has to play better," Jackson said. "He'll be fine."

FRED IN FLIGHT: When Fred Jones soared through the air to deliver a slam dunk late in the second quarter of Sunday's game, it excited the fans at Conseco Fieldhouse and demonstrated how much progress Jones has made. He underwent shoulder surgery last July, which meant wearing a sling for eight weeks and then spending another six weeks rehabilitating. That put his off-season workouts on hold and by the time he started training camp, he was far behind schedule and all indications were that he would be the odd man out, stuck on the depth chart behind fellow shooting guards Miller and Jackson.

But then came Nov. 19, the brawl that ended up costing Ron Artest the season and Jackson 30 games. "I knew I was going to get an opportunity, and I was like, this is, for me, a blessing in disguise," Jones said. "Of course I didn't want my teammates to have to go through that to better my situation, but it gave me an opportunity and my teammates told me right when it happened, this was going to be my opportunity to run with it."

Jones, selected by the Pacers at No. 14 overall in the 2002 NBA draft, ended up playing 77 games, starting 14. He averaged 10.6 points and shot .425 from the field, showing improvement especially on his mid-range jump shot. All that is a result of the frustrations he went through last summer, when his shoulder hurt so much he had to start out close to the basket and work his way out on the perimeter.

05-17-2005, 09:43 AM
Interesting. If for no other reason, I'd like to see Indy win because then all the Detroit sportswriters can spend a thousand words a piece tomorrow saying, "oops."

I've never been a huge RM fan, but wouldn't it be wonderful to see him pull another 30-pt game out of his hat?

But the key's still Tinsley. And tempo - you don't say this for the Pacers often but they need to push it every chance they have.

05-17-2005, 11:18 AM
Thanks for all the articles, UB.....

I agree that the crow is gonna be mighty tasty for the Pistons presswriters...

05-17-2005, 11:45 AM
Wouldn't I love for our guys to read that first one?

They oughta just substitute the name Lakers for Pistons because it sounds just like their hacks.

Diamond Dave
05-17-2005, 12:31 PM
That first article can only be described as "scrumtralescent". :rolleyes:

By the way didn't someone on here try to claim Parker was a popular writer because he's willing to say the things that no one else will? Its because of stupidity that he says these things, not daring.

05-17-2005, 12:33 PM
That first article can only be described as "scrumtralescent". :rolleyes:


Diamond Dave
05-17-2005, 12:38 PM
Did anyone see last Sat. SNL where Ferrel hosted?

When the Queens of the Stone Age performed he came out in the middle of the performance as Gene from Blue Oyster Cult and gave the song a little more cowbell.


Sorry UB for the derail.

05-17-2005, 12:44 PM
Did anyone see last Sat. SNL where Ferrel hosted?

When the Queens of the Stone Age performed he came out in the middle of the performance as Gene from Blue Oyster Cult and gave the song a little more cowbell.


Sorry UB for the derail.

I haven't got a clue to anything you just said.

Diamond Dave
05-17-2005, 12:51 PM
I haven't got a clue to anything you just said.

So I'm assuming you have never seen the now famous skit on SNL about the band Blue Oyster Cult recording "Don't Fear the Reaper" in which Will Ferrel plays the Cow Bell?

05-17-2005, 12:52 PM
Wow. I really really hope Rick reads those articles to the guys.

05-17-2005, 01:26 PM
That first article is ridiculous. Yeah, the Celtics controlled our series, too, and where are they now? ;)

05-17-2005, 01:32 PM
That first article can only be described as "scrumtralescent". :rolleyes:

By the way didn't someone on here try to claim Parker was a popular writer because he's willing to say the things that no one else will? Its because of stupidity that he says these things, not daring.

I think most people think Parker's a moron for articles like that one, and other's he's done on this series.

05-17-2005, 01:54 PM
So who's worse. Parker or Sharp

05-17-2005, 05:38 PM
So who's worse. Parker or SharpKinda like choosing between two turds in a punch bowl, isn't it?

One thing is for certain. We some how have to win this series.

Just so about 100 PD forum members can Email each of these guys and suggest to them what they can do with each other.