Interesting comments by Tinsley
May 16, 2005
BY CHRIS NELSEN
FREE PRESS SPECIAL WRITER
INDIANAPOLIS -- Carlos Arroyo didn't know if he was ever going to get off the bench again after not playing in the past two games.
But coach Larry Brown called the point guard's number late in the first quarter of the Pistons' 89-76 Game 4 victory over the Pacers on Sunday.
"Obviously, he was ready for it," Pistons forward Tayshaun Prince said.
Arroyo took advantage of the opportunity and gave a lacking Detroit bench some life. He had two points, four assists and one steal in 12 minutes.
"It feels good because the last couple of games I thought I was going to be called, but it didn't happen," Arroyo said.
Said Prince: "He really shared the ball for us when he came in, and we needed that."
Arroyo hadn't played in the series since Game 1, when he played nine minutes, though almost four came late in the fourth quarter when the Pistons had a big lead.
Brown has been reluctant to play Arroyo partly because of his defense.
But Arroyo held his own against the Pacers and guard Jamaal Tinsley.
"We tried to contain him from going to the basket, but I think today was one of those days that we contained almost everybody," Arroyo said.
Arroyo's contribution was important because it allowed starter Chauncey Billups to stay fresh. Billups, who had his best game of the series with 29 points, was happy to see Arroyo get some minutes.
"I thought Carlos was great. I'm just glad that Coach gave him an opportunity in a series like this," Billups said. "I'm looking forward to him getting another opportunity again in the next game."
If Arroyo can have more success, that would give the Pistons two solid backup options for Billups and Richard Hamilton (Lindsey Hunter already is a solid defensive contributor).
Arroyo hopes he has earned Brown's trust.
"It's up to him if he trusts me or not," Arroyo said. "I trust myself when I'm out there, and hopefully he sees that. I want to play, but my job is to stay ready as a professional and I understand that this is a team of sacrifices."
TINSLEY STRUGGLES: Tinsley's ability to consistently dribble inside on the Pistons helped the Pacers win two straight games. But in Game 4, the Pistons finally solved him, holding him to one assist and forcing him into seven turnovers.
"They were looking for me to pass more," Tinsley said. "They were playing the passing lane and deflecting my balls. They had the wings crowded more so I can't throw the direct pass. I give them credit; they came out with a game plan, and they stuck with it. I'm going to have nights like this, but it isn't going to be too many nights, so I'm not worrying."
FOSTER TONED DOWN: After three games, center Jeff Foster was the Pacers' MVP. But he did not make his presence felt Sunday. Foster had 45 rebounds in the first three games, but just one in Game 4, along with three points in 12 minutes. "When we got behind we went small and he had to come off the floor," coach Rick Carlisle said.
ALL MENTAL: When asked about his sore right calf, Hamilton said: "It's 100% mentally. I'm going out there with that mentality."
After a big Game 1, Hamilton has struggled shooting in the past three games. He made six of 16 shots for the second straight game and had 13 points and seven assists.
"It felt better in the second half (of Game 3) when I took the wrap off," Hamilton said before Game 4. "So I'm going out there raw today. I'm not going to wear anything."
TIRED PRINCE: Prince asked for a break once during Game 3. But after that, Brown said Prince told him he was fine.
Prince looked tired down the stretch in Game 3, playing all but two minutes and scoring just nine points. In Game 4, he played all but eight minutes and scored just seven. Brown said he would monitor Prince's situation and might be inclined to give Ronald Dupree or Darvin Ham some minutes.
NOTEBOOK: Prince was pleased with the defense on Jermaine O'Neal.
In his last two games O'Neal, the Pacers' All-Star, is 6-for-26 from the field. Reggie Miller and O'Neal combined for just 17 points in Game 4, while Stephen Jackson had 23.
"Obviously in an ideal world, it would be great if all three of us could score 20 points a game," Miller said. "We're playing a great defensive team in Detroit and they're going to shut down one, maybe two, of us." ...
One series ago, the Pacers stole Game 2 in Boston and had a 2-1 series lead against the Celtics heading into Game 4 at home -- only to get blown out by 31 points. Sunday's loss to the Pistons in Game 4 was eerily similar.
"It was a tough loss for us," Tinsley said. "We could have competed more."
Free Press sports writers Perry A. Farrell and Helene St. James