Detroit wins series 4-1 (Game 1 of 5)

Detroit wins series 4-1

Game 1: Saturday, April 23rd
Game 2: Tuesday, April 26th
Game 3: Friday, April 29th
Game 4: Sunday, May 1st
Game 5: Tuesday, May 3rd

76ers 85

(43-39, 18-23 away)

Pistons 106

(54-28, 32-9 home)

3:00 PM ET, April 23, 2005

The Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit, MI

1 2 3 4 T
PHI 28 18 24 1585
DET 16 32 32 26106

Top Performers

Phi: A. Iverson 30 Pts, 1 Reb, 10 Ast, 4 Stl, 1 Blk

Det: R. Wallace 29 Pts, 10 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Blk

R. Wallace scores 24 of his 29 in the second half

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- For the first time since the season opener, Rasheed Wallace strutted into The Palace with the boxing-style championship belts he had made for the Detroit Pistons.

Then the demonstrative forward showed how he plans to help the Pistons defend their title.

Wallace scored 24 of his 29 points in the second half Saturday, helping Detroit pull away from the Philadelphia 76ers 106-85 in the first game of the NBA playoffs.

"There's no pressure on us. Most of the attention is on Miami and San Antonio," he said. "We like being on the back burner."

The Pistons went from Eastern Conference contenders to champions after dealing reserves and No. 1 picks for Wallace just before the trading deadline last season. He gave the Pistons just what they needed with his inside-outside scoring, defense and swagger.

"You've got to know Sheed to know the intangibles he brings," said Philadelphia's Chris Webber, a former teammate of Wallace's. "You can tell what a difference he makes on their team."

Allen Iverson had 30 points and 10 assists and Webber scored 27, but that wasn't nearly enough for the Sixers.

"We played one quarter of basketball," Iverson said. "That's not enough to beat nobody."

Detroit will host Game 2 in the best-of-seven series Tuesday.

The seventh-seeded Sixers started the game with a nothing-to-lose mentality, and it helped them build a 16-point lead in the first quarter before Detroit went ahead for good late in the second quarter.

Antonio McDyess scored 13 of his 15 points in the second quarter to lead the Pistons' comeback.

"He killed us," Iverson said.

Detroit's Tayshaun Prince finished with 23 points, Richard Hamilton had 17 and Chauncey Billups added 11. Ben Wallace tied a Pistons playoff record with seven blocks and had seven points, four steals and 10 rebounds.

"I was just trying to figure out who the best player on the Pistons is, and I think I came out with a five-way tie," Sixers coach Jim O'Brien said.

Detroit followed up a 16-point first period with 32 points in each of the next two quarters.

Philadelphia's Samuel Dalembert had 10 points and a season-high 18 rebounds and Andre Iguodala added 10 points. Kyle Korver, playing on an injured right knee, had just two points.

Wallace got off to a slow start against his hometown team, scoring just five points on 1-of-6 shooting in the first half. But he had 16 points in the third quarter and eight in the fourth.

He scored 12 of Detroit's 14 points over the first 3-plus minutes of the second half -- while Iverson had all six of Philadelphia's points -- to put the Pistons ahead 62-52. Detroit led by as many as 13 in the third before starting the fourth with an 80-70 lead.

Wallace made consecutive 3-pointers midway through the fourth to extend the lead to 15.

"I knew it was going to be a good night for him when he came in with his championship belt on," McDyess said.

Iverson and the Sixers faced their former coach, Larry Brown, who left to lead the Pistons two years ago. Iverson hugged Brown before the tipoff and pointed out his family sitting in the stands. Brown coached Iverson for six of his nine NBA seasons and all 57 of his previous playoff games, including the 2001 NBA Finals.

The Sixers got off to a great start Saturday.

Philadelphia made its first four shots and five players scored its first five baskets. The Sixers led by 16 twice in the first quarter, shooting 61.1 percent. The Sixers had five steals and five blocks as they managed to collapse their defense in the lane while jumping out in the passing lanes for steals.

"In the first two timeouts, I told them that this isn't how we have been winning games," Brown said. "We needed to slow down."

Trailing 28-16 at the start of the second, McDyess sparked Detroit's turnaround with 13 points, three above his average, on 6-for-7 shooting in the quarter.

Prince's 3-pointer late in the half gave the Pistons their first lead and it capped a 15-2 run. They led 48-46 at halftime.

Iverson shot 3-for-4 in the first quarter and 1-for-8 in the second. He had 11 points in the third quarter, preventing the Sixers from falling even further behind.

"A loss is a loss -- one point or 21 points," Iverson said. "I don't care about that. We came in here trying to steal a game, and we didn't get it done. We've got another opportunity Tuesday."

Game notes

Winners of Game 1 have gone on to win 249 of 317 (78.5 percent) of best-of-seven series. ... The two champions before the Pistons -- San Antonio and Los Angeles -- lost in the second round of the playoffs the following year. ... Brown improved to 86-79 in the playoffs, the leader among active coaches and trailing just Phil Jackson (175), Pat Riley (155) and Red Auerbach (99) in career postseason wins. .... Faces in the crowd included Michael Phelps, Kid Rock and Plaxico Burress. ... Ben Wallace matched Bob Lanier's team record of seven blocked shots, set in 1976. ... Webber and Rasheed Wallace were teammates in Washington during the 1995-96 season.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press