AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Ben Wallace got just what he wanted,
a clear-cut win.
Wallace scored a season-high 14 points and grabbed 15 rebounds,
and the Detroit Pistons used a late surge to beat the Indiana Pacers 88-78 Monday.
Two days earlier, Indiana beat the Pistons at home on Jermaine
O'Neal's disputed shot in the final second.
It took the officials nearly 20 minutes to decide whether the
basket was good. Instant replays appeared to show that O'Neal had
the ball in his hand with no time on the shot clock, but with about
four-tenths of a second on the game clock.
Since the Pacers inbounded the ball with 24.1 seconds left in
the game, the officials determined by video replay that 24 seconds
had not expired from the game clock.
"There was some controversy at the end of the last game and
deep down inside we realized that we didn't take control of the
game the way we should have,'' Wallace said. "We wanted to take
the control of the game to not let it come down to a last-second
After trailing much of the game, Detroit went on a 9-0 run to
take an 82-73 lead with 1:29 left.
"Maybe more than any other time this season, our guys really
showed character and emotional strength,'' said Detroit coach Rick
Carlisle, who wants the NBA to add tenths of seconds to the shot
The Pistons pulled within 1½ games of the Central
Division-leading Pacers, who had won six of seven. Detroit has won
seven of 10.
Indiana made just 29.7 percent of its shots in the second half.
"We forced them to take quick, tough shots with hands in their
faces,'' Wallace said. "That allowed us to get out on the break.''
Indiana's Reggie Miller scored 28 points and became the 18th NBA
player to score 23,000 points. Ron Artest scored 14 points on 4-of-20 shooting, and O'Neal had 12 points and 11 rebounds.
"We're the better team,'' Artest said. "They played good
today, but we still beat ourselves.''
The Pistons began their comeback with an 11-2 run to tie it at
57 late in the third. Billups made a shot from about 40 feet at the
end of the third quarter as time expired to tie it at 62. The crowd
cheered when it was announced that the shot was reviewed, by rule.
Detroit tied it three more times before Mehmet Okur's turnaround
jumper put the Pistons ahead -- for the first time since the opening
minutes -- 72-70 with 6:04 left.
After the Pacers tied it at 73, Jon Barry's 3-pointer, Chucky
Atkins' basket and two Wallace dunks put the Pistons up by nine.
"I thought it was a hard-fought game,'' Indiana coach Isiah
Thomas said. "Two teams were defending and it was just a matter of
which team got a spurt. I thought Detroit got a spurt with Barry
hitting a big 3-pointer for them and that gave them some
Indiana led 44-37 at halftime and lost for just the second time
in 22 games when leading at the half.
Detroit leads the season series 2-1 against Indiana, which
will travel to The Palace for the final meeting on April 4. ...
Detroit made just 42.2 percent of its shots, but held Indiana to
40.5 percent. ... Billups' free-throw shooting streak ended at 29
straight in the second quarter.