View Full Version : Ben Wallace flips out again, trouble in D'Town

04-09-2006, 08:47 AM
Yes I know I'm overeacting, but hey we have to take what we can get.


Pistons: Analysis

Ben Wallace flips out at Saunders

Pistons center refuses to re-enter Friday's game against the Magic after coach benches him earlier.

Chris McCosky / The Detroit News

April 9, 2006

AUBURN HILLS -- Sometimes you snap. Even the great ones snap.

An 82-game schedule is as much a mental grind as it is a physical one. Over a three-week span, you've had to knock heads and elbows and knees twice with Shaquille O'Neal. You are playing against the biggest, strongest and fastest of your profession -- Miami, Indiana, New Jersey, Dallas, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Phoenix -- one after the next.

You get weary. Your body aches and your nerves get frayed. Things that used to roll right off you are starting to get under your skin.

You are, after all, human. You snap.

On Friday night, Ben Wallace snapped. With 7:57 left in the fourth quarter of a 89-87 loss in Orlando, and the Pistons trailing by eight points, coach Flip Saunders took Wallace out of the game. Wallace was clearly peeved. Never mind that he had played all 15 minutes of the second half to that point, he stormed to the end of the bench uttering a torrent of unprintables directed at Saunders.

Saunders explained the move to Wallace, who waved him off.

A couple of minutes later, Saunders wanted to put him back into the game. Wallace didn't move. He wouldn't even look at Saunders. With the Pistons back in contention and threatening to steal a victory, Saunders again summoned Wallace.

Again, Wallace waved him off and stayed seated at the bench, not even getting up to join the huddle during timeouts.

"He said he couldn't go," was all Saunders would say after the game.

Wallace made it clear he wasn't injured and that he will be ready to play today against the Pacers.

In the clear light of a new day, Wallace will regret what he did. To refuse to enter a game is so beyond his character, it's hard to believe it happened. He is a captain and a leader on the best team in basketball. His identity -- and thus the identity of this team -- has been forged on the principles of going to work every day, having your teammates' backs and relentlessly fighting through all the bumps and hurdles life throws at you.

For him to have hung his teammates out to dry like that, for sure, will be tough for him to swallow today. Already, the team was without Richard Hamilton, who was in Coatesville, Pa., attending a family funeral, and Rasheed Wallace, who left in the third quarter because of back spasms.

When Ben Wallace refused to come back, Saunders had to use rookie Jason Maxiell, who hadn't dressed in nine games and hadn't played in the previous 13, to spell Antonio McDyess for four minutes. Then, with Wallace still refusing to come in, Saunders went with Dale Davis and McDyess down the stretch.

"Those guys on the floor really spilled their guts," Saunders said.

They did. Maxiell had a basket and a steal. Davis had four points. McDyess chased down a missed free throw in the final seconds to give the Pistons one more shot at tying the score.

"Those guys did a great job," Ben Wallace said. "They stayed ready and prepared and really gave us a lift."

Ben Wallace wouldn't go into all the causes of his frustration. Neither he nor Saunders felt it was any kind of crisis. Several teammates waved it off as a temporary spat between Wallace and Saunders -- nothing horribly unusual -- and felt it would clear up by today.

Part of Ben Wallace's frustration might stem from his problems at the free-throw line. He has made just 5 of his last 32 attempts. He missed two free throws in the fourth quarter Friday, and was still stewing over that when Saunders pulled him.

Ben Wallace also said earlier in the week that he didn't want to have his minutes reduced. He feels like to be best prepared for the postseason, he needs to maintain his normal work load.

One frustration Ben Wallace will voice loud and clear, though, is with the way the Pistons are playing. Though they are winning, and though they played a mostly solid game at Miami on Thursday, he is bothered by what he calls, "garbage basketball", particularly early in games.

"We can't keep putting ourselves in a hole every game," he said. "We are just not coming together at the start of games like we should and then we have to play like super heroes just to catch up. We can't keep making these games so hard on ourselves."

The Pistons were tired and terrible for the most part in Orlando. They produced a season-low 14 assists. They settled for quick perimeter shots. Ben Wallace had only one shot and rarely touched the ball. He has only taken nine shots the last three games combined.

He's not asking to take a lot of shots. He just wants to be involved in the sets so that they aren't playing four on five at the offensive end.

This is hardly a new rant from Ben Wallace. He went off on the same issue earlier in the season and it helped sparked the team's 37-5 start.

Now, nobody is endorsing a sit-down strike as the right way to act out frustration. And it is mildly troubling that a 61-victory team would have to deal with such issues this late in the season. But, over the years, a Ben Wallace meltdown has generally wound up being a good tonic for the team.

It usually sounds the alarm that it is time to get serious.

The playoffs are two weeks away.

You can reach Chris McCosky at (313) 222-1489 or chris.mccosky@detnews.com.

04-09-2006, 09:27 AM
What a class act kind of guy!

04-09-2006, 09:32 AM
He pulled a "Scottie", and cussed out a good man while he's at it. Classy! Even Tinsley didn't do that to Carlisle! :devil:

Jack probably has. :zip:

Seriously, that's inexcusable. I can't stand players that do that to their coach and through him, the team. Blech.

And McCosky was :bunny:-soft to start off the article.

04-09-2006, 09:38 AM
I see this as a bad thing. If they weren't already, they'll really be focused and ready for us today.

04-09-2006, 09:47 AM
Why is this a surprise?

04-09-2006, 09:57 AM
Part of Ben Wallace's frustration might stem from his problems at the free-throw line. He has made just 5 of his last 32 attempts.

and thats the hottest FA this summer?

04-09-2006, 10:00 AM
and thats the hottest FA this summer?

Yup, and one who is likely to get a max contract to boot.

Of course, if Shaq can do it... :shrug:

OMG, did I just compare Ben Wallace to Shaq?! :runout:

Knucklehead Warrior
04-09-2006, 10:10 AM
Now wait just a minute. Is this PD or not? Where's the pukin' poll?

(1) Fire Saunders
(2) Trade Wallace
(3) Both


04-09-2006, 10:15 AM
Where is Kstat? :lurk:

04-09-2006, 10:35 AM
Where is Kstat? :lurk:

It's only a matter of time before Piston fans come in here and brag about their record or compare this situation to Artest etc etc.

I also beleive FT's are whats causing all of Bens distress. 5-32 is absolutely horrific. I don't care who you are..and Ben has small hands to!

04-09-2006, 10:49 AM
He was just mad that Darko was outplaying him.


04-09-2006, 11:19 AM
I also beleive FT's are whats causing all of Bens distress. 5-32 is absolutely horrific. I don't care who you are..and Ben has small hands to!

I think it has something to do with that too. Right when he came out of the game he had just missed 2 FTs badly, and was having an awful game all around. I wouldn't be suprised if he was swearing at Flip but about himself. It's not like the article clues into what was said. He could have been swearing about his own ****ty play. That's something Ben would do.

Either way, Ben has called himself and the team out plenty of times before. Remember back in december when a similar incident happend with him after the Utah game? Yea, the Pistons went on to win 9 straight and 22 of their next 24 games.

However, if he did just get pissed about being taken out of the game and refuse to come back into the game because of it, then he needs to wake the **** up and stop being a *****.

04-09-2006, 12:19 PM
However, if he did just get pissed about being taken out of the game and refuse to come back into the game because of it, then he needs to wake the **** up and stop being a *****.
It isn't' like Ben to be like that. If he makes noise it's because he thinks he can do better and the team can do better...I would probably chalk this off as just being mad at himself.

04-09-2006, 01:15 PM
I'd agree. Ben was most likely upset at himself.

I didn't read too much into it, because we were only playing 2 starters that night anyway. It was more like a preseason game than a regular season one.

Not saying I'm not upset at Ben, but I'm taking a wait-and-see approach to see if this isnt just an isolated incident.