View Full Version : (Indy Star) Pacers wish they faced Pistons' lone problem

04-10-2006, 09:13 AM
The section in bold below is my emphasis


Pacers wish they faced Pistons' lone problem
By Mike Wells
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Wouldn't it be nice if the only thing the Indiana Pacers had to worry about was staying focused while preparing for the playoffs?

That's one of the few concerns Detroit Pistons coach Flip Saunders has with his team during its remaining games.

The Pistons have already wrapped up the Central Division title and home-court advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs.

"The last six games you want to stay sharp and you want to improve in some areas," Saunders said.

The Pistons have gotten off to slow starts since the only thing they're playing for is getting home court through the entire playoffs. The Pistons have still sent messages to other teams. They've beaten Miami, Phoenix and Dallas, all title contenders, in the past two weeks.

"We've faced a lot of teams that have had that sense of urgency, so what has happened, teams have kind of jumped on us early," Saunders said. "We've had to fight our butts off to get back in games."

Difference of starts

Pacers coach Rick Carlisle gave a slight grin and shook his head when asked if he ever thought he would be coaching a team that surpassed last year's total of 30 different starting lineups.

"No, if you look at my history as a coach, I haven't been a big lineup switching guy," he said.

The injury-riddled Pacers this season have used 31 starting lineups, including eight in the past 11 games.

The Pistons, on the other hand, set an NBA record by using the same starting lineup for 73 straight games. The streak ended when Rasheed Wallace was suspended for a game last week. They've had only one player -- Carlos Delfino -- miss a practice this season.

<b>"That's an unbelievable streak," Carlisle said. "It shows how those guys work to take care of themselves and why they have the best record in the league."</b>

Wallace dominates boards

The Pacers had no answer for Detroit's Ben Wallace in the rebounding department.

Wallace, who is fourth in the league in rebounding, grabbed a season-high 22 rebounds, including nine offensive, Sunday.

"When we come out and play the way we played, good things happen," Wallace said. "Everybody gets a chance to feel the ball, get the defense moving, make the defense break down, and it allows you to get to the boards."

The Pacers' starters combined for 24 rebounds. The Pistons outrebounded the Pacers 52-35, including an 11-rebound edge on the offensive end. That led to a 24-4 advantage in second-chance points.

Call Star reporter Mike Wells at (317) 444-6053.