AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- The Detroit Pistons played like
champions with swarming, relentless defense and unselfish offense.
The defending NBA champs can close out the pesky Pacers on
Thursday night in Indianapolis.
The Pistons held Indiana without a field goal for a stretch of
10:39 -- including the first 6:26 of the second half -- turning a tie
game into a 22-point advantage. The 30-4 run by Detroit over the
second and third quarters turned the game into a rout.
"I think it's probably one of our best performances," Wallace
said. "When we play like that, we're a tough team to beat."
Of the previous 123 best-of-seven series tied 2-2, the winner of
Game 5 advanced 103 times (84 percent).
"This is going to be a true test of our will," Indiana's
Jermaine O'Neal said. "If we can't win a game on our home court,
we better be ready for next season."
Indiana coach Rick Carlisle used all four of his second-half
timeouts in the third quarter, trying to slow down the Pistons.
It didn't work.
The outcome was a foregone conclusion by the fourth quarter, but
the final few minutes provided a couple of oddly entertaining
League rules require that each team calls a timeout in the
fourth quarter, but because Carlisle didn't have any left, the
Pacers were called for a technical foul with 2:17 left.
"I've never seen that. It blew me away," Pistons coach Larry
Brown, whose NBA coaching career started in 1976, said in an
interview with The Associated Press. "I asked (official) Joe
Crawford if he's ever seen it, and he said he hadn't in his 28
Seldom-used Darko Milicic, the second overall pick by the
Pistons in 2003, made the technical foul shot.
"It wasn't that big of a deal," Carlisle said of the quick
second-half timeouts. "But at the time, I felt like if we were
going to have a chance to stay in it, we needed to stop the game."
"Things kind of snowballed from there," Carlisle said.
The Pistons' starters -- all back from last year's title run --
put Indiana away with a 15-0 burst to start the second half.
Detroit dominated because it was scrappy and aggressive when the
Pacers had the ball and it spread the floor and shared the ball at
the other end of the court.
"They're quick to the ball. They rotate. They help each
other," Miller said. "Against a team with that many offensive
weapons, you have to limit their possessions, and we didn't do
The Pistons had 22 offensive rebounds, leading to 25
second-chance points, and outrebounded Indiana overall 52-34.
Detroit had a 23-21 lead after the first quarter. Indiana held
Detroit scoreless for over four minutes in the second quarter and
went ahead 31-27, then the Pistons took over.
The first-half run began when Ben Wallace grabbed Prince's
airball and scored and it ended with his swooping, reverse dunk.
Detroit's bench is often pointed to as a weakness, but Arroyo
and McDyess sparked the Pistons' comeback. Without making a shot,
Arroyo was commanding during Detroit's surge with four assists and
McDyess scored all of his eight points in the second quarter.
After a scoreless first half with two fouls, Rasheed Wallace
went after O'Neal -- leading to the Indiana center's fourth foul --
on the first possession of the second quarter and made two free
The Pistons outscored Indiana 27-11 in the third quarter, taking
a 69-46 lead. The Pacers pulled within 20 early in the fourth, then
Detroit scored eight straight points.
"We're disappointed, but not distraught," Carlisle said. "We
know what we have to do. We faced an elimination game less than two
weeks ago (at Boston) and our guys fought and won a Game 7 on the
If Game 7 is necessary, it will be Sunday back at The
Palace. ... O'Neal, who has been bothered by a shoulder injury,
grimaced in pain during halftime warmups and raised his arms above
his head, but he played in the second half. He refused to make
excuses when asked about his shoulder after the game. ... Four
hours before the game, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
Firearms and Explosives were taking bomb-sniffing dogs around the