Detroit wins series 4-2 (Game 6 of 6)

Detroit wins series 4-2

Game 1: Monday, May 9th
Game 2: Wednesday, May 11th
Game 3: Friday, May 13th
Game 4: Sunday, May 15th
Game 5: Tuesday, May 17th
Game 6: Thursday, May 19th

Pistons 88

(54-28, 22-19 away)

Pacers 79

(44-38, 25-16 home)

7:00 PM ET, May 19, 2005

Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

1 2 3 4 T
DET 19 20 23 2688
IND 21 25 17 1679

Top Performers

Det: R. Hamilton 28 Pts, 6 Reb, 1 Stl

Ind: R. Miller 27 Pts, 2 Reb, 2 Ast

Hamilton's 28 lead Detroit into East finals

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The Detroit Pistons didn't feel like celebrating after knocking the Indiana Pacers out of the playoffs and sending Reggie Miller into retirement.

Most Career Playoff Points Without Winning NBA Title

Karl Malone 4,761
Elgin Baylor 3,623
Reggie Miller 2,972
Charles Barkley 2,833
Patrick Ewing 2,813

It wouldn't have seemed right, especially after the 39-year-old sharpshooter made a teary-eyed retreat to the bench in the final seconds Thursday night.

"This is a sad day, really," Detroit's Chauncey Billups said after Detroit's 88-79 victory sent the Pistons back to the Eastern Conference finals and ensured that Miller's career would end without a championship.

Richard Hamilton scored 28 points and Billups added 23 as Detroit won the best-of-seven series 4-2. The Pistons will open the conference finals on Monday at Miami.

It was the final game for Miller, the NBA's 12th-leading career scorer who is retiring after 18 years in the league. He broke out of a shooting slump and led Indiana with 27 points, and his final basket was a 3-pointer with under 2 minutes left to pull Indiana to 82-79.

Hamilton then hit a basket and Billups added two free throws with 26 seconds left before Miller missed a 3-pointer and left the game to a prolonged, standing ovation -- which the Pistons joined in -- as the crowd chanted "Reg-gie, Reg-gie" with 16 seconds to go.

At the end of the game, the chant changed to "One more year."

"It was definitely very emotional," Hamilton said. "I don't think I've ever been in a game where a team that's about to move on and a guy comes out of the game and the other team is cheering.

"For a guy his age, the way he played tonight was unbelievable," Hamilton said.

As Miller left the court, he embraced players from both teams.

"I told him thanks. Everybody in the NBA should be saying thank you," Hamilton said.

Miller's 27 points were his most since he had 33 in Game 3 of the first-round series against Boston.

"It's somewhat bittersweet," Miller said. "I thought we competed hard tonight. Every time we got a lead, Chauncey and Rip hit big shots to keep them within distance. That's what championship teams do."

Jermaine O'Neal, still bothered by a sore shoulder that sidelined him late in the regular season, added 22 points and 11 rebounds for Indiana.

Reggie Miller Since 2000
When Facing Playoff Elimination

2000-02 2003-05
W-L 3-3 2-3
PPG 28.0 10.8
FG pct. 50.0 42.6
3-pt FG pct. 40.4 26.9

The Pacers led almost the entire first half and turned back every Detroit rally until two straight baskets by Hamilton put the Pistons ahead early in the fourth quarter. The final score marked the Pistons' biggest lead of the game.

Detroit has won eight consecutive playoff series clinchers over the last three seasons.

"There were very sentimental emotions from all of us," Indiana coach Rick Carlisle said. "Tonight, the reality is we were beaten by a team that's simply better. We played one of our better games tonight and they were able to win a very tough close-out game on the road."

The Pacers, hoping to extend Miller's career at least one more game, finally found their shooting touch after being blown out the past two games.

Miller, one of the NBA's great clutch shooters who had been stymied into 38 percent shooting through the first five games of this series, shot 11-of-16 and made four 3-pointers. Reminiscent of past playoff glory, two of his 3-pointers came in a span of 39 seconds late in the second quarter after nine straight points by Billups and a free throw by Hamilton brought the Pistons within 40-37.

Most Consecutive Wins
In Closeout Games
2000-04 Lakers 12
1994-97 Rockets 9
2002-05 Pistons 9
2002-04 Nets 7
1997-99 Jazz 7

"I'm just glad I finally made shots," Miller said. "It's been a long and tough series for me. Tonight, I wanted to concentrate on just having fun. ... Tonight, here, with all the fans, I wanted to absorb that and feel their presence."

Billups dribbled out of bounds for a turnover, and Miller hit one 3-pointer. Seconds later after Billups missed a 3-point attempt and with the Indiana crowd already chanting for Miller, he responded with another 3-pointer to put the Pacers up 46-37.

Detroit got back into the game with two big runs in the third quarter.

The first time, after a rebound basket by Ben Wallace cut Indiana's lead to 48-47, O'Neal, Dale Davis and Miller scored consecutive baskets, and a free throw by Miller on a technical foul against Rasheed Wallace made it 55-47.

The Pacers still led 59-51 before a basket and free throw by Hamilton started an 11-2 run, and two more free throws by Hamilton gave the Pistons their first lead, 62-61. Indiana regained the lead at the end of the period on a dunk by Foster and opened the fourth quarter with a basket by O'Neal and 3-pointer by Anthony Johnson.

The Pistons then scored seven straight points to take the lead for good, denying the Pacers a chance to give Miller a shot at a championship. Indiana's only trip to the NBA Finals was in 2000, when the Pacers lost to the Los Angeles Lakers.

"Words can never express how I feel to the city and fans," Miller said. "The city has really embraced me and understood we all had one common goal. Unfortunately, I never delivered on that, but it was an unbelievable ride."

Game notes

Miller, whose 25,279 points stand 12th in NBA regular-season scoring, finished 18th with 2,972 career playoff points. ... Billups set a Pistons career playoff record for 3-pointers. His 2-for-6 against the Pacers made him 82-for-247 in 48 playoff games with Detroit. Isiah Thomas held the old record of 81-for-234. ... Miller had two assists after totaling just one in the past four games. ... This is the first time in nine playoff series the Pacers have lost after leading 2-1. ... Indy 500 drivers Helio Castroneves, Sam Hornish Jr. and Scott Dixon attended the game.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 88 79
FGM-FGA 31-71 (.437) 36-75 (.480)
3PM-3PA 4-13 (.308) 5-19 (.263)
FTM-FTA 22-24 (.917) 2-7 (.286)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-40 8-36
Assists 17 27
Turnovers 10 11
Steals 7 3
Blocks 3 7
Fast Break Points 9 2
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 15 (1/0) 21 (2/0)
Largest Lead 9 10

Top Performers

Richard Hamilton Hamilton
Points: 28
Reb: 6
Ast: 0
Stl: 1
Blk: 0
Reggie Miller Miller
Points: 27
Reb: 2
Ast: 2
Stl: 0
Blk: 0