May 2006 Pistons articles *Frequent Updates*

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  1. LanierFan

    LanierFan Bench Warmer

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    [Associated Press]

    Pistons Nip Cavaliers, Force Game 7
    Summoning all their postseason experience and making every big play down the stretch, the Pistons beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 84-82 to even their series and force a decisive Game 7.

    "We know what it takes," Detroit's Ben Wallace said. "We've been together a while. We don't panic."

    .... The Pistons' biggest win of 2006 wasn't secure until the final tick of the clock, when a free throw intentionally missed by LeBron James was nearly tipped into the basket by Detroit's Chauncey Billups - another unlucky bounce for the Cavs.

    "I got my hand on it, and I almost made the basket for them," Billups said. "When it was in the air, I was like, 'Wow, not like this.'"

    [Hmmm. Chauncey almost admits to being concerned. Things are looking up.]

    Richard Hamilton Solid Again for Pistons
    CLEVELAND (AP) -- Richard Hamilton has been as steady as he is skinny in the second round of the NBA playoffs.

    Hamilton scored 17 points to help the Pistons avoid elimination with an 84-82 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night in Game 6.

    [NBA.com]

    James Can't Do It Alone as Pistons Force Game 7
    CLEVELAND, May 19 (Ticker) -- LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers may have just witnessed the end of their season.

    James scored 32 points, but it was not enough as the Detroit Pistons got a few clutch shots from Rasheed Wallace and some big offensive rebounds down the stretch to post an 84-82 victory in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
  2. LanierFan

    LanierFan Bench Warmer

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    [DetroitPistons.com]

    Postgame Quotes
    Flip Saunders on defending LeBron with smaller players tonight:
    “We tried, number one, to put a little more pressure, and not get him as comfortable. He’s so good with the ball because he’s so big. He can see over people. So you can’t let him where he is spacing you up so much, we tried to get him where we could put a little more pressure on him. Change the people on him a little bit, changed our coverage, went some traps, did a little bit of everything. I thought our zone defense was great for us. It changed tempos as far as the game. And just tried to give different looks. When you play someone who is in a rhythm which I think he is you can’t give him the same look every time.”

    [Sporting News]

    SEAN DEVENEY: Pistons finally get some lucky bounces
    Even in the Game 6 win, it just did not feel like we were watching the Pistons we've grown accustomed to. They shot 33 percent in the fourth. They were 16-for-28 from the free-throw line -- even Billups, who just never misses at the stripe, missed a key free throw that set up James' mad dash to end the game. Detroit was outrebounded in Game 6, 42-35.

    But those bounces, late in the game when they had to have them, saved the Pistons' season and put them in good shape for Sunday's finale. Cleveland, obviously, is a worthy adversary for the Pistons, but if Detroit can get the same rolls to go their way in Game 7 -- whether you want to call it luck or grinding or some combination of the two, those rolls have been the hallmarks of the Pistons' recent run -- they'll be a tough team for Cleveland to beat.

    [Fox Sports]

    ERIC MONEYPENNY: Cavs should have used Gooden late in Game 6
    While watching Game 6 between the Pistons-Cavaliers, and the Pistons were dramatically dominating the offensive glass late in the fourth quarter, one question entered my mind.

    Where in the world was Cleveland forward Drew Gooden?
  3. LanierFan

    LanierFan Bench Warmer

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    [After weeks without losing work to MLive.com's browser-freezing design, yours truly said goodbye to an hour's worth of links this morning -- courtesy MLive's sister site at Cleveland.com! Never again. So here's a quick overview of the local papers, and if you want more you can navigate from one story to the rest.]

    [Detroit News]

    Hunter puts major pressure on James
    CLEVELAND -- Pistons point guard Lindsey Hunter spent most of his 16 minutes on the floor of Friday night's Game 6 against the Cleveland Cavaliers trying to frustrate LeBron James with his pint-sized pressure.

    He had some success, helping to limit James to eight points in the first half. But Hunter picked up three personal fouls in the meantime.

    ROB PARKER: Does Saunders trust bench?
    My moles are telling me that if there's one big gripe the Pistons have with coach Flip Saunders, it's that he never had any confidence in his bench players.

    This is not just a feeling since the playoffs started, but all season long.

    [Detroit Free Press]

    Getting even
    "I hope Cleveland is ready to match our energy," said Rasheed Wallace, "because it's going to be bananas at The Palace. We are going to tear the roof off the place."

    It was a valiant performance by Wallace and another clutch one from Chauncey Billups that kept the roof on Quicken Loans Arena on Friday and carried the Pistons to a frantic, nerve-wracking 84-82 victory in Game 6.

    [Akron Beacon]

    Pistons execute, tie series
    There was nothing really simple about the 2 ½-hour struggle, with both teams scrapping for every basket and throwing complex schemes at one another. The Pistons probably won the game on this level, making some offensive decisions that were the most prudent since the first half of Game 2.

    They fed the post all night, taking advantage of mismatches Prince and Rasheed Wallace created. The Cavs, determined to kill the Pistons' long-range shooting, had lived with this situation for three games as they switched on pick-and-rolls to avoid allowing open jumpers. In Game 6, desperate Detroit made them pay.

    [^&%#@!! Cleveland Plain Dealer]

    Gotta Rebound
    Thousands of fans at The Q stood in disbelief Friday night after exerting so much energy in the biggest game of the Cavaliers' season only to leave exhausted and disappointed.

    The Cavs were so close in finishing off the Detroit Pistons in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals that several fans were overheard discussing plans for a trip to Miami - to play the Heat in the conference finals.

    The Pistons, however, put the Cavs and many airline reservations on hold.
  4. Slippy

    Slippy All-Star Administrator Forum Donor

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    [the oakland press]

    Pressure-packed night
    By DANA GAURUDER
    Of The Oakland Press

    AUBURN HILLS - Through six dominating and exhilarating months, the Pistons passed virtually every character test. Over the past week, they have sullied their reputations with mystifying failures in clutch situations.
    this is a pregame article

    [mlive.com]
    Pistons force Game 7 vs. Cavs, 84-82
    CLEVELAND -- The Detroit Pistons have a lengthy track record of finding ways to pull off playoff wins when their postseason life is at stake.
    You can add one more to that list after the Pistons staved off elimination with a hard-fought 84-82 win at Cleveland, evening the best-of-seven series at three games apiece. Game 7 will be Sunday at The Palace.

    This time Pistons back the talk
    By A. Sherrod Blakely
    CLEVELAND -- The shift has been subtle, but definitely noticeable among the Detroit Pistons.
    Detroit, a team that prides itself on its toughness, has gradually morphed into one that seems to be more about talking.
    It's the kind of change that none of the Pistons sees as a change for the better.

    Pistons Playoff Primer
    Highlights of the Detroit Pistons' 84-82 NBA playoff victory against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday:
    Key play: With Detroit clinging to an 84-82 lead with 1.4 seconds to play, Cleveland's LeBron James intentionally missed the second of two free throws. The ball was batted around, with Zydrunas Ilgauskas missing a tip-in that would have tied the game.
  5. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    [Detroit Bad Boys]


    All tied up! 3-3

    Pistons 84, Cavs 82


    [Cavs World]


    Cleveland Cavaliers : Detroit Edges Cleveland, Sends Series to Game 7

    In another game that came down to the final seconds, the Detroit Pistons beat the Cleveland Cavaier 84-82 to force a game 7 Sunday back in Detroit. THe game wasn't decided until the final buzzer when LeBron James intentionally missed his second foul shot down 2 and first Zydrunas Ilgauskas missed a tough tip in and then Drew Gooden had his tip in attempt blocked as time expired.


    [20 second timeout]

    Rasheed's Play Speaks Volumes as the Pistons Force a Game Seven Showdown with the Cavaliers

    LeBron James is about to confront another new challenge in his young playoff career: playing a game seven on the road against the two-time defending Eastern Conference champions. The Detroit Pistons beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 84-82 before a sellout crowd of 20,562 at Quicken Loans Arena on Friday night. The Cleveland faithful were loud and raucous for most of the game but quieted to stunned silence at the final buzzer. James led both teams with 32 points and 11 rebounds while adding five assists, but he also had seven turnovers and shot 8-20 from the field. Rasheed Wallace's words have overshadowed his play for most of the series but he came up with a big performance in game six, scoring 24 points on 9-17 shooting from the field, including 4-8 marksmanship on three pointers.



    [Sun Sentinel Blog]


    Is there any doubt?

    Generally, this space is reserved for all things Heat.

    Then again, in a way, this essentially is part of the Heat's reality:

    The Pistons are coming.

    Friday was Cleveland's best chance to advance to the Eastern Conference finals, the Heat's best chance to steal homecourt.


    [The Full Court Press]


    Cavs broadcaster feeling pessimistic

    Joe Tait, who has been calling Cavalier broadcasts since 1970, isn't sounding too positive about the outcome of the series.


    Sheridan: Last play marred great game

    ESPN NBA analyst Chris Sheridan has a column out today that focuses primarily on the last play of last night's game. After getting some player perspectives Sheridan concludes that the foul call was the wrong decision.
  6. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    [Akron Beacon Journal]


    Young team loses poise for first time
    by Tom Reed

    CLEVELAND - Cavaliers fans never have to ask if they can get a witness for their Nike-clad superstar, LeBron James.

    At the maddening conclusion of Friday night's 84-82 loss to the Detroit Pistons, a more pressing question arose: Can they get a rebound?
  7. detteam

    detteam All-Star

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  8. LanierFan

    LanierFan Bench Warmer

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    [Associated Press]

    Pistons Look to Rule the Palace in Game 7
    It's a safe bet the Pistons and 22,000 fans will take the Cavs seriously Sunday afternoon with a spot in the Eastern Conference finals at stake.

    "The Palace is going to be bananas," said Detroit forward Rasheed Wallace. "We're going to tear the roof off the joint."

    Hughes to Play in Game 7 for Cavs
    Cleveland's guard, who returned to the club Friday after missing three games in the Detroit series following the death of his younger brother, is expected to play in Sunday's decisive game at The Palace in Auburn Hills, Mich.

    [Detroit News]

    Pistons' season hangs in the balance
    AUBURN HILLS -- By now, the Pistons certainly have received, read and processed the memo: if you want it, you have to win it. Nothing is guaranteed, regardless of experience, talent or home-court advantage.

    Yes, the Pistons worked hard for 82 games in the regular season and won the right to play Game 7 at home, and yes, teams with home-court advantage have won 76 percent of all playoff series dating back to 1946-1947.

    TERRY FOSTER: Pistons are no strangers to pressure of Game 7
    The Pistons tied the series Friday after an 84-82 nail-biter at Quicken Loans Arena, which set up today's stomach-crunching finale at 3:30. It is more than a game. In four quarters, the Pistons will take one of two paths -- one tragic or one familiar.

    Behind door No. 1 is a loss that will open Pandora's Box. The second door comes with a giant sigh of relief and finally summons the Eastern Conference Finals in a couple days against the rested Miami Heat, who are breathing fire because the Pistons drummed them out of the playoffs in a thrilling seven-game series last season.

    Saunders makes adjustments on the fly
    DETROIT -- If you would have watched the Pistons bench Friday, you would have thought it was utter chaos. Plays and adjustments would be drawn up in the huddle during a timeout. Then, as the team was waiting to go back on the court, Pistons coach Flip Saunders and the players would tweak one or two things. Then, when the players came back on the floor, Saunders and his staff would make even more alterations.

    "We did, we made a lot of adjustments and I give the players credit for being able to change on the fly like that,” Saunders said. “We had some breakdowns, but overall, not too many.”

    [New York Times]

    James Isn't Ready to Start Vacation
    "Nobody thought we would be here, nobody thought we would be in a Game 7 against the Pistons," said James, who is averaging 31.1 points during the postseason. "We've proved doubters wrong. So it's time to prove some more wrong. I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be excellent."

    [San Jose Mercury News]

    LeBron building a jaw-dropping legacy
    LeBron James, you've already won, and there's more out there for you.

    You're already the postseason's biggest story, you've led the Cavaliers much further than anybody predicted, and nobody expects you to knock off the Detroit Pistons today.

    Which makes you the most dangerous man in the NBA universe right now, and I hope you're enjoying the moment. And I want you to get greedy.

    [Kansas City Star]

    NBA deserves hype; Cavs' James doesn't
    The Cavs would've put Detroit away Friday night had James played up to his Magic Johnson hype. Let's remember that a few days short of his 21st birthday, Johnson played all five positions against Dr. J's Sixers and dropped 42, 15 and seven on Philly with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at home with a headache. That was in game six of the NBA finals.

    Meanwhile, Friday night James turned the ball over seven times, including four times in the fourth quarter. In the final seconds, he melted down and bypassed a would-be game-tying three-point attempt. At Detroit's offensive end, Tayshaun Prince had his way with James in the low post, getting any shot he wanted. James, who is built like a mini version of Karl Malone, settled for free throws in the fourth quarter and one second-half assist because he couldn't post up Lindsey Hunter or any Detroit defender.

    [So, what do you think today's big topic will be? Could it be ... (Church Lady voice) ... LEBRON? This article lacked a byline, but it has to be Jason Whitlock. A welcome change from the LeBron lovefest elsewhere.]

    [Detroit Free Press]

    Pistons sure hope home is sweet for Game 7
    Through 82 regular-season games, whenever the Detroit Pistons faced boredom and fatigue from another long flight, another back-to-back, or another game against a lottery-bound team, they fought through it with days like today in mind.

    Today the Pistons will play a deciding Game 7 on their home floor. It's not the one they really want at home -- that would come next month in the NBA Finals -- but it's a game they need to win to get there.

    Sheed may talk, but at least he can walk
    "That's one thing that's overlooked a little bit," Detroit coach Flip Saunders said. "In Game 4, 'Sheed sprains his ankle in the first quarter. 'Sheed's playing at basically 60% in Games 4 and 5....

    "You guys know if you ask, who's the MVP of the team, almost every player comes out and says 'Sheed is because of what he gives us... So us being able to have him, go into him in the post, us being able to run pick-and-roll and him having his legs to be able to shoot threes and create space away from Chauncey, I mean those were huge keys."

    Cavs have nothing to lose in Game 7
    Coach Mike Brown met with his players briefly on Saturday afternoon to watch tape and complete a short walk-through session before leaving on a 3:30 p.m. flight to Detroit. He said he's been pleased with the Cavs' aggressiveness in the last four games and the second half of Game 2, but knows they can't afford another sluggish effort down the stretch like the one that led to Friday's loss.

    The Cavs struggled with their perimeter defense in Game 6. The Pistons made 4-of-6 threes in the second half, finishing 6-for-14 (42.9%) from the three-point arc.

    MITCH ALBOM: Pistons' Flip tries to go the distance
    So who's coaching these Pistons? Some say it's the players. Some say -- after three straight losses to Cleveland -- nobody. Both answers ignore the man who holds the title. Flip Saunders is, by job description, the head coach. But if you think that means Gene Hackman in "Hoosiers," think again.

    The NBA is a league of dones and done-nots. Players who sport a championship ring always will have something over those who don't. The Pistons have six players who hold such rings. Their coach does not.

    DREW SHARP: Pistons' quiet confidence a good sign
    Adolescent levity was non-existent, as was the borderline funereal tone of their practice just before they headed to Cleveland for Game 6.

    In their place was a relaxed self-assurance, with only the Pistons' recently acquired respect for those annoying, agitating Cavaliers keeping their happy feet firmly grounded.

    "We learned a lesson," Rip Hamilton said. "You've got to take care of business."
  9. LanierFan

    LanierFan Bench Warmer

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    [Akron Beacon]

    Pistons break hearts
    Drew Gooden still agonizes over the Game 7 his team lost to the Pistons when he was a member of the Orlando Magic in 2003. Damon Jones couldn't sleep for two days after the Pistons ousted his Miami Heat in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals last season.

    If the rest of the Cavs are going to avoid being infected by that dogging feeling, they'll need to accomplish three things.

    TERRY PLUTO: Nothing like emotions of Game 7
    "The Cavs know they needed to just get one more rebound in the final minute and they win,'' said Malone, whose son Michael is a Cavs assistant. "Right now, these two teams are so close, anything really can happen.

    "Hey, the Cavs have nothing to lose. They're not supposed to be there. The Pistons are supposed to have had this thing wrapped up. There have been times when the Cavs have had Detroit rattled.''

    James not changing for Game 7
    As Marshall spoke to reporters, the Cavs' resident savior playfully hid behind a door attempting to jab his spit-lubed index finger into Marshall's ear.

    A 21-year-old who has come of age in his postseason debut sees no harm in sometimes acting his age. The pressure of his first Game 7 against the Detroit Pistons be damned.

    [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

    One Cavs win could heal two playoff hurts
    Today's Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals between the Cavaliers and the Detroit Pistons not only advances the winner to conference finals, but a Cavs victory could erase the demons from Damon Jones' past.

    It was last year's conference finals between the Pistons and the Miami Heat. The Heat led the series, 3-2, but the Pistons forced a seventh game. Jones, the starting point guard for the Heat, twisted his ankle early in the first half of Game 7 but continued to play. He had his worst game of the playoffs. Jones finished with one point and one crucial late turnover. The Pistons went on to victory.

    WEBLOG: Game 7 thoughts
    It could be any sport, and at the mere mention of a Game 7 I'll begin making plans to watch it. I'm a sucker like that.

    But my drooling over the drama aside, here's what I think has to happen tomorrow for the Cavs to win.
  10. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    [Need4Sheed]


    Victory Is A Work In Progress

    Game Five at the Palace was pathetic, not only did the real Pistons not show up, neither did the fans. For all of you that will be at game seven, I want the Palace louder than we have ever been before. Let's cheer our boys on until we can't muster another sound out of our mouths. We can help them add another banner in those rafters. Let's make it a true home court advantage!

    A few days ago I stumbled on this Pistons Playoff commercial while watching Sportscenter. It pumped me up so I thought I would share.

    You gotta watch this short video. Natalie does a great job at N4S.


    [Detroit Bad Boys]


    Can we laugh at this yet?

    Damon Jones Gets Hit in the Eye [YouTube]

    Jacob "The Dancer" [YouTube]

    Damon Jones gets knocked in the face [YouTube]

    Jake the Dancing Kid in one of his most disturbing routines. Seeing Damon Jones get poked in the face after Game 5 is pretty cool.


    [YAY Sports!]


    LeBron James is taking a Shot

    Watch this real quick, and then meet us down below.

    I don't know why I post this. YAYSports blows.


    [On the Beat: Miami Heat]


    Mythical concept

    I've been guilty of falling for the idea that Dwyane Wade struggles against the Pistons and the defense of Lindsey Hunter and Rip Hamilton. Maybe it's because I vividly remember his 3 of 15 game in Detroit on March 22, and his frustrations with Rip and Lindsey at times during games. But I guess I should've looked at the numbers earlier.

    Kinda interesting to see this entry about Wade's performance against the Pistons. The author makes a good point about Antoine Walker. he's a scary dude.
  11. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    Two really good pieces to read. Hey, it's tough waiting for the most gut wrenching game of the season to start, right? ;)


    [ESPN.com]

    As good as it gets: the 10 best Game 7s ever
    by Ken Shouler

    Game 7. Three of these anxiety-inducers are being served up in the next two days. It leads us to wonder: Which Game 7 tilts stand above the rest? Here's my Top 10 -- a mix of earlier rounds and finals -- in NBA history. The best games include drama (read: no one-sided contests), with the result hanging in the balance right to the end. If great individual performances are tossed in, that's a bonus.


    [The Buffalo News]


    NBA joins NHL at changing rules for the better
    This year's playoffs have been the most exciting in years, a procession of close games, breathless individual performances and buzzer-beaters.
    by JERRY SULLIVAN

    It seems like a different game now. The league has tightened its rules, making it harder for the thugs to lay hands on skill players and thwart their creative genius. They have legislated against the clutching and grabbing, placing a renewed emphasis on speed and striking a blow for the little men of the sport.

    I am talking, of course, about the new NBA.
  12. LanierFan

    LanierFan Bench Warmer

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    [Associated Press]

    Pistons' Defense Overwhelms Cavs in Game 7
    "They trapped me, they went under screens, they went over screens," said James, who was held to one second-half field goal Sunday in the Cavs' 79-61 Game 7 loss to Detroit. "I've seen almost every defense that I could possibly see for the rest of my career in this series.

    "That's why they're Eastern Conference champions, and that's why they keep winning."

    James Gets Lesson in First Playoffs
    AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- With a colorful NBA-logoed towel draped across his shoulders, LeBron James waited for the final horn and bolted for Cleveland's locker room without shaking hands.

    His first postseason as a pro had ended inside Detroit's defensive dungeon, and James wanted out. He wasn't going to hang around and watch confetti sprinkle down on the Pistons and their noisy fans.

    [Fox Sports]

    CHARLEY ROSEN: LeBron's a 'King' without a kingdom
    In the second half, the Pistons altered their defense from the triangulation strategies they'd been showing for most of the series. After the intermission, they sometimes doubled James on the catch — thereby preventing him from initiating his dreaded attack-dribble, and mostly confining his options to making neutral perimeter passes. They also went under screen/rolls, thereby preventing James from turning the corner as easily as he'd done in the first half — and then doubling him. Plus, Detroit sometimes switched into a 2-front zone when James had the ball in the middle of the court.

    When LeBron still managed to get his mojo working, they tried forcing him baseline and doubling with a big man. This is exactly how Ben Wallace succeeded in drawing a charging foul on James, one so evident that the refs couldn't ignore.

    [NBA.com]

    Pistons Stymie James in Second Half to Advance
    Tayshaun Prince scored 20 points and Richard Hamilton 15 for the top-seeded Pistons, who won the final two games of the series to advance to the conference finals for the fourth straight season.

    "It was just will," said Pistons guard Chauncey Billups, who had 12 points and eight rebounds. "Anytime you get to a Game 7, it's just will. You're not going to trick them with anything you do, they're not going to trick us with any plays. We know them inside out."

    Postgame Quotes
    Tayshaun Prince on Lindsey Hunter: “Points were hard to come by throughout the whole game…. We were saying, once somebody off the bench could come in and get some extended amount of time - that they would be able to come through for us. Obviously, Lindsey, with his experience and having been in this position before, we knew he had that capability.”

    [Sun-Sentinel (FL)]

    IRA WINDERMAN BLOG: Worth waiting for
    What makes Heat-Pistons II so compelling it has two big men who play each other straight up (Shaquille O'Neal vs. Ben Wallace) and two clutch scorers capable of getting on incredible rolls (Dwyane Wade and Chauncey Billups).

    And it's straight-up basketball. No zones. Few gimmicks. Set plays that require precision.

    [Deadspin]

    No, I'm Sorry, You Can't Get A Witness
    A competitive first half gave way to a Detroit smothering in the second half, and the Detroit Pistons have advanced in the Eastern Conference playoffs. LeBron James had 27 total, but was held to just 6 points in the second half. Of course, those 6 points did account for over 25% of the Cavs total 2nd half output of 23 points. It was the lowest-scoring Game 7 that any team has ever had. Truth be told, for all the anticipation… this was not an attractive game.
  13. Slippy

    Slippy All-Star Administrator Forum Donor

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    [mlive.com]

    Pistons 79, Cavaliers 61
    AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — LeBron James made things rough for the Detroit Pistons. In the end, the two-time defending Eastern Conference champions got it right.
    Coming back from a 3-2 deficit, Detroit eliminated James and the Cleveland Cavaliers with a 79-61 win Sunday in Game 7 of their second-round series.
    "Our slogan is, `If it ain't rough, it ain't right,'" Richard Hamilton said. "So it was rough for us, and we got the win. Now we're looking forward to the next series."

    [Detroit Free Press]

    D-throned! Stingy defense sends King James to sidelines, Pistons to next round
    The Detroit Pistons’ new motto is, “If it ain’t rough, it ain’t right,” and they stayed true to that Sunday.

    It was rough, all right.

    But in the end, all was right.

    The Pistons used their mightiest defensive punch to get out of the second round with a 79-61 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in a deciding Game 7 at the Palace.
  14. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    [Detroit Bad Boys]


    Pistons 79, Cavs 61

    Pistons 79, Cavaliers 61



    [Need4Sheed]


    Second Round Knockout

    Pistons 79 Cavaliers 61


    [Daily Dime]

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/dailydime?page=dailydime-060522

    This is an all-Detroit lovefest with some poo-poo'ing on the Cadavers. Brilliant. I love when the media falls all over what happens even when it contradicts what they've promoted heavily for the last 2 weeks.

    LBJ will be a minor character at ESPN in a week, and mostly forgotten until next September...
  15. LanierFan

    LanierFan Bench Warmer

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    [Detroit News]

    Pistons rough up LeBron
    AUBURN HILLS -- LeBron James reached several milestones during his first NBA postseason. But he had a third quarter Sunday he'll definitely want to forget.

    James had 27 points on 11-of-24 shooting in the Cavaliers' 79-61 loss and was held to a point in the third quarter. His entire team struggled and shot 31 percent for the game.

    Prince does it all in clinching victory
    Prince played a complete game on both ends of the court. He led the Pistons in scoring (20 points) and had seven rebounds and three assists.

    Game report
    "Whether they were going to call fouls or not, be aggressive on him. The second half, we kind of switched up. We just tried to keep him out of the paint as much as we could in the second half."
    ?-- Pistons forward Tayshaun Prince, on the Pistons' defensive strategy on LeBron James.

    Three stars
    Tayshaun Prince, Pistons: For the third straight game, he played all 48 minutes. He led the Pistons with 20 points and had seven rebounds, three assists and one blocked shot. With the outcome in the balance in the fourth quarter, he took a charge, passed to Lindsey Hunter for a basket, tipped in a miss and made two free throws to help extend the lead to 65-52.

    BOB WOJNOWSKI: Heat's on!
    Detroit's 79-61 victory over the Cavaliers in Game 7 Sunday ended one series and brought on the one we've been anticipating all season. Miami and Shaquille O'Neal will be here for Game 1 Tuesday night, and maybe by then, the Pistons will have regained their legs and their breath.

    ROB PARKER: Cavaliers' weak act is finally over
    The only reason the Cavaliers had to endure a Game 7 beat down, 79-61, on Sunday was that the Pistons gave them a chance with some poor play in this best-of-seven series.

    On the surface, it appears as if the Cavaliers took some major steps and pushed the Pistons to the limit. In reality, the Pistons made the Cavaliers look a lot better than they are.

    TERRY FOSTER: Pistons move on, but Heat are rested
    Q. A lot was made of the home crowd in Game 7. Rasheed Wallace went as far as to say it would be bananas. Was it?
    A. In short, no. The Palace is slowing returning to the wine-and-cheese crowds of the late 1980s and '90s. It hit a peak in 2004 with some of the loudest crowds in Pistons history. Slowly the high rollers have strong-armed their tickets from their kids. The magic of two years ago is gone.

    Heat advisory
    The Pistons are very much not dead today. They advanced to the Eastern Conference finals for the fourth straight season, and will play the Miami Heat beginning Tuesday, thanks in a large part to a resuscitative spark from Hunter.

    Weary Pistons prepared for the rested Heat
    "I told the guys to take the next eight hours and enjoy this victory, and then start thinking about Miami," coach Flip Saunders said. "We are coming out of an emotional series and we don't want a letdown. I don't think that will be a problem. We will be energized and ready to go. It does help that we are playing at home."

    [Detroit Free Press]

    D-throned!
    The Pistons used their mightiest defensive punch to get out of the second round with a 79-61 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 7 at the Palace.

    Hunter's play energizes club, fans in victory
    When he came back with 3:06 left in the third, he made the most of the opportunity. Hunter nailed a 20-foot jumper less than a minute later and hit the Pistons' next bucket after driving past 7-foot-3 Cleveland center Zydrunas Ilgauskas for a lay-up.

    Hunter finished the quarter by grabbing an offensive rebound after Rasheed Wallace misfired on a three-point attempt, a move that paved the way for Tayshaun Prince's lay-up with 6.5 seconds left. That shot put the Pistons up 58-48 as time expired in the third.

    MITCH ALBOM: Bring on LeHeat!
    Sunday, Tayshaun Prince played as if the last lights of his life were in that basket, as if another chance might never come. Minute after minute, in a Game 7 where nerves seemed to paralyze even the greatest players' limbs, Prince was loose and free as an eagle, scoring the first points of each half, soaring for blocks, for critical rebounds, for drives that took him through a redwood forest of Cavaliers but finished with the ball falling though the net.

    Smothering James' talent the key
    "Anytime you get to a Game 7, it's just will," said Chauncey Billups. "You're not going to trick them with anything that you do and they're not going to trick us with any plays. We know them inside out. I know what those dudes had for breakfast."

    Hughes finishes season on court
    After signing a 5-year, $60-million contract in the off-season to become James' sidekick, Hughes isn't sure whether he wants to write off this season altogether.

    "I'm not really sure just yet," he said. "This is life. I'm not the only guy who's been through this, been through adversity or trials or whatever. I have to build on it, so I haven't quite figured out if I want to put an 'X' through this year. Not the basketball year but just the whole '05-'06. I haven't quite figured it out yet."

    [Miami Herald]

    Pistons, Heat to face off
    ''It's definitely a different look for the simple fact that when LeBron goes to the basket our focus is pretty much on him,'' Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace said. "When D-Wade goes to the basket, we're going to have at least one person slacking off because he's got [O'Neal]. All he's got to do is throw that thing up, [and] Shaq's coming down with some monsters.''

    ISRAEL GUTIERRIEZ: Miami Heat Blog
    Dwyane's numbers against the Pistons this season in four games: 43.5 minutes, 28.0 points, .512 shooting percentage, 7.0 assists, 6.5 rebounds. Take out the 3 of 15 game, and he's averaging 33 points and shooting 57.9 points. In fact, Dwyane has only scored more total points this season against the Cavs, Magic and Wizards.

    Combine that with Shaq's 28.0 points on 58.3 percent shooting against the Pistons this season, and it's pretty clear that a series against the Pistons will come down to the supporting cast.

    [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

    At last, they know: Heat Prep for Pistons
    MIAMI -- Minutes after the Detroit Pistons finished their work Sunday, the Miami Heat began prepping in earnest.

    Finally, they knew their fate -- that the long-awaited rematch for Eastern Conference supremacy was set. And it'll begin Tuesday night in Auburn Hills, Mich., where the Heat and Pistons play Game 1 of their second straight conference final series.

    Heat is rested, healthy and ready for a Detroit rematch
    "Different coach, different personnel -- they are a totally different team from the one we faced last year," Pistons guard Richard Hamilton said.

    Indeed, beyond Walker and Williams, this will be the first Heat-Pistons playoff series for the Heat's Posey, Gary Payton and Derek Anderson. Walker said talk about a developing rivalry, therefore, is overstated.

    Scoring, defense - Wade's got to do both
    Unlike last season's Eastern Conference finals against Detroit, when Heat forward Eddie Jones took the defensive challenge against Pistons perpetual-motion guard Richard Hamilton, this time Wade will have to work full time on both ends of the floor.

    "It's going to be a challenge, just like chasing Ben Gordon, just like sticking Vince Carter," Wade said Sunday of his primary covers in the first two playoff rounds, against Chicago and New Jersey.
  16. LanierFan

    LanierFan Bench Warmer

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    [New York Times]
    Pistons' Kryptonite Dazes James and Cavaliers
    (Registration Required) AUBURN HILLS, Mich., May 21 — When his team needed him the most Sunday, LeBron James was trapped, as if he were an insect entangled in a spider's web.

    The web was the superb defense of the Detroit Pistons. With their season in jeopardy, after James darted and dunked his way to 21 first-half points, the Pistons knew their mission. James had to be stopped. In the second half, the Pistons engulfed James, surrounding him, harassing him, forcing him to surrender the ball and cutting off his driving lanes to the basket. James made 1 of 9 field-goal attempts in scoring only 6 points in the second half, and as his spirit wilted, so did the Cleveland Cavaliers.
  17. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    [Need4Sheed]


    Prince Is King

    Sunday the Pistons moved on to face Miami in the Eastern Conference Finals. Pistons fans know that the team they watched lose three games to the Cavs weren't The Pistons we have come to watch all season. I am not going to go into production numbers but needless to say Mr. Big Shot, Rip, Sheed and Ben didn't have the best series, not even coming close to their regular season numbers. And don't get me started on turnovers and the free throw shooting.

    I love Natalie at N4S. She's the definition of the Pistons Superfan. Another great Photoshop image of Tayshaun.


    [Ira Winderman on Miami Heat]

    Pistons in 7

    -- Because that provides ample wiggle room, with the thought here that only homecourt advantage slides the scale in Detroit's favor.

    Winderman is the anti-Dan LeBatard. A solid beat sports writer.


    [Fox Sports]


    LeBron's a 'King' without a kingdom
    by Charley Rosen

    Michael Jordan couldn't do it by himself. Neither could Shaq, nor A.I., nor Wilt, nor the Logo-Man, nor Magic, nor Oscar, nor Jabbar, etc., etc., etc. And neither can LeBron James.

    No matter how superlative an individual talent, no matter how tough, competitive, unselfish, or whatever, a player might be, basketball is played 5-on-5. And championships are won by teams.

    A must read for Flip haters or anyone interested in the strategy the Pistons used to approach Game 7, in particular limiting Mike Brown's ability to make radical adjustments. Link 1. Link 2.

    Free your mind, and your ass will follow.



    [The Oakland Press]


    That was easy
    Pistons 'D' puts away pesky Cavs
    by DANA GAURUDER

    AUBURN HILLS - They never do anything easy, but they sure know how to get rough. After taking the path of greatest resistance during the second round of the playoffs, the Pistons resisted every shot, move and pick the Cleveland Cavaliers tried to make. That ol' standby, their team defense, was never more impenetrable than it was for Game 7 as the Pistons gritted and scrapped their way into the Eastern Conference finals.



    Bench is likely to be needed
    by DANA GAURUDER

    AUBURN HILLS - After all that, it comes down to the same two teams virtually everyone expected to make the Eastern Conference finals. The only surprise is that the Miami Heat had a much easier series leading into the round than the Pistons.

    The Heat haven't played since Tuesday night when they completed their best-of-seven series against New Jersey in five games. The second-seeded Heat will have the fresher legs, but Tayshaun Prince believes that could work against them heading in to Game 1 on Tuesday night.


    Hunter provides crucial spark
    by KEITH LANGLOIS

    AUBURN HILLS - In a game in which basket felt like a and every careless turnover seemed as fatal as a fumble, Flip Saunders summoned Lindsey Hunter from his bench late in the third quarter with the Pistons gasping, ahead 49-46.

    On Cleveland's first trip to the Pistons' end, Hunter got in the mix in the far corner across from Detroit's bench and forced Larry Hughes into a turnover. The Cavs called timeout. Saunders raced halfway across the court to laud the 13-year veteran, who pumped his fist. You want a clip that symbolized this game - amid a game that symbolized this series - take that one. It wasn't pretty and it wasn't spectacular, but it was the type of little moment on which the Pistons built their 79-61 Game 7 win that vaults them into the Eastern Conference finals against Miami starting Tuesday at The Palace.


    Pistons revert to classic form for Game 7
    by PAT CAPUTO

    AUBURN HILLS - By the time the series ended, the Pistons were back to business as usual. They came full circle while defeating the upstart Cleveland Cavaliers in seven games.

    The Pistons moved from dominating the first two games of the Eastern Conference semifinals to losing three close encounters of the strangest kind to winning a tight one that could have gone either way to dominating the second half of the clincher - a 79-61 victory Sunday at The Palace.


    [Houston Chronicle]


    Pistons Have Shaquille O'Neal's Number
    by TIM REYNOLDS AP Sports Writer

    MIAMI — Here is a quick synopsis of Shaquille O'Neal's recent history against the Detroit Pistons: Great individual numbers, disappointing team results.

    Despite his penchant for big performances against Detroit, the Pistons have ushered in summertime for O'Neal in each of the past two postseasons. First, they beat his Los Angeles Lakers for the 2004 NBA title, then ended his debut year with the Miami Heat by winning Game 7 of last season's Eastern Conference finals.

    Ah yes, the pressure is on the big fat Ninja Aristotle.

    [MSNBC]


    Heat-Pistons is the matchup we need
    Cavs would have been sexier, but these are two best teams
    by Mike Celizic

    The NBA Eastern Conference Finals are a classic case in the shortcomings of the American idea of entertainment.

    It’s a great match, the Heat with its superstar players and Hollywood-polished coach against the ultimate team, the Detroit Pistons, with its players who sacrifice individual acclaim for the common good and a coach named Flip.

    Nice piece. Worth a look.
  18. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    [Palm Beach Post]


    Riley: No excuses this year
    by Chris Perkins

    MIAMI — Impatience is about to be rewarded.

    Beginning at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Palace of Auburn Hills, the Miami Heat and Detroit Pistons engage in a rematch of last year's best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals.

    And this time, even though Detroit has home-court advantage, the Heat promises there will be no excuses.


    Commentary: The Heat faces a Detroit team whose resolve is reinforced
    by Greg Stoda

    It's the Pistons, after all.

    And they'll be strengthened, not weakened, entering Tuesday night's start of a best-of-seven Eastern Conference championship series against Miami, because there's nothing like a real-life lesson to prove a point. That's because Detroit's well-earned arrogance (it's seeking a third consecutive NBA Finals appearance) comes so recently dipped in the startling realization of disappointing possibilities.


    [Hoopshype]



    HoopsHype.com Playoff Previews


    Detroit Pistons (64-18) vs Miami Heat (52-30)


    [Booth Newspapers]


    Playoff Primer


    Prince the difference-maker against Cavs
    by A. Sherrod Blakely

    AUBURN HILLS -- There's no award for the most outstanding player in a second-round NBA playoff series.

    If there was, chances are good that it would have gone to Detroit's Tayshaun Prince, who was a difference-maker in the Pistons' series-clinching 79-61 Game 7 win against Cleveland on Sunday.

    Prince, who averaged 18 points per game during the series, had 20 on Sunday to go with seven rebounds and three assists.


    Pistons will their way to Game 7 win
    by A. Sherrod Blakely

    AUBURN HILLS -- Playoff experience was one of those intangibles discussed a lot in the Detroit-Cleveland series, but difficult to place a value on.

    Fans saw on Sunday just what it's worth, as the Pistons collectively showed the kind of playoff poise that comes from years of fighting -- and surviving -- hard-fought post-season matchups with a series-clinching 79-61 Game 7 win against Cleveland.

    With the win, Detroit moves on to the NBA's Eastern Conference finals for the fourth consecutive season. The Pistons will host the Miami Heat in Game 1 on Tuesday at 8 p.m. The last team to appear in four conference finals in a row was the 1990-1993 Chicago Bulls.
  19. LanierFan

    LanierFan Bench Warmer

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    [BMac's Blog]

    NBA All-Defense Qualms
    I admit I do not watch as much NBA basketball as I would like, as I spend most nights in the gym training young players, nor do I dedicate as much time to deciphering the stats like the guys at 82 games.com.

    However, somehow, I find it hard to believe that three Pistons are among the top eleven defenders in the NBA and none is named Rasheed Wallace.

    [A couple of weeks old, but it's always nice to find a fresh blog.]
  20. LanierFan

    LanierFan Bench Warmer

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    [Associated Press]

    Same Old Pistons Face New-Look Heat
    AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Pat Riley's experiment is about to be put to the test.

    The Miami Heat president shook up his team after it fell just short of beating the Detroit Pistons last year in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals. Then Riley became coach of his new-look team after Stan Van Gundy resigned for family reasons.

    [Detroit Free Press]

    Terry Foster's Game 1 preview
    The Pistons face another superstar with great mobility and scoring touch. Dwyane Wade is no slouch, but he is easier to guard than Cavaliers guard LeBron James . Wade is a decent passer, but he is not in James' league. That means the Pistons' defense won't have to scramble as much to guard the perimeter.

    Wade looks to score first and pass second, which means the Pistons' help defenders can eyeball him a second longer before committing to the perimeter. James reads the defense a little better.

    Pistons-Heat II should be good
    AUBURN HILLS -- Who says sequels can't be as good as the original?

    Though it might be tough to top the seven-game mini-epic the Pistons survived in last season's Eastern Conference finals, the story lines for Pistons-Heat II seem every bit as intriguing.

    Big man rotation
    Coach Flip Saunders said he's going to go to his bench more this series and reiterated a statement Rasheed Wallace said during practice Monday.

    "We're going to play both of those guys," Saunders said of Davis and Kelvin Cato. "Like 'Sheed said, they're going to earn their money."

    In the NBA, free throws are anything but freebies
    "The weird thing about free-throw shooting, it's a bigger challenge because you're by yourself, no one is around you, and you've got 20,000 people looking at you, and you're on TV," said Billups, who has made 91 percent of his free throws during the first two rounds of the NBA playoffs, after Monday's practice. "If you let all of that get into your head … the shot itself is not a hard shot, but when all of that comes into play, it makes it difficult."

    The Heat index
    "We have no excuses whatsoever," Riley said. "We're rested. We're healthy. I think we're happy, and I hope we are humble.

    "We always had an excuse about last year (Wade's rib injury) -- everybody did. You (the press) talked about it. The players talked about it. You know, we had guys hurt. We had too much time off. We had a week off (before the Heat played the Pistons in 2005). There was always an excuse, but there is none now.

    "It really doesn't make any difference -- the two best teams in the East are going to play."

    [Detroit Free Press]

    The matchup everyone expected becomes a reality
    All season, the Pistons and the Miami Heat seemed destined for a rematch in the Eastern Conference finals. And starting with Game 1 tonight at the Palace, destiny is now reality, and it's something the players admit they'd hoped for all along.

    "Oh, I definitely wanted this series," point guard Chauncey Billups said. "I think they're the other best team in the Eastern Conference. And when you're the best, you want to play against the other teams that are supposed to be the best. That's what the playoffs are all about."

    Pistons admit they scare the fans, but that's how they are
    "We get comfortable in those situations knowing we can get out of them, almost to a fault," guard Lindsey Hunter said. "I just think we are a different group. We can say things to each other. It works for us."

    It works because the players subjugate egos for the group, because they get into each other's faces when they need to, without fear of alienating anyone.

    Pistons Corner: Davis is ready to contribute
    Davis said he hasn't regretted his decision to come to Detroit, even if he hasn't been satisfied with his playing time. During the first round against Milwaukee, for example, he appeared in three games for a combined 10 minutes.

    The Pistons' lineup has been steady for most of the playoffs, but Richard Hamilton said players like Davis know how to fit in when needed.

    "Dale's a veteran, Dale's been in this league a long time, he knows how to play this game of basketball," Hamilton said. "When you've had a guy who's played so many years in the league, it's easy. They come in and play and know what their role is."

    "The world felt that was the Finals"
    For those who have forgotten, last season's conference finals against the Heat pushed the Pistons to their breaking point. There were blowouts and nail-biting comebacks, trash talk and rumors, a suburban town and a glamorous paradise snapping wisecracks back and forth.

    One coach had his foot out the door and the other could feel someone else's ready to give him the boot. One team's stars took turns shining and the other's took turns hurting.

    DREW SHARP: We'll take wins, no matter how ugly
    The Pistons have been too cute for too long this season, primping in front of the mirror, making sure they looked just right and forgetting the NBA playoffs aren't a beauty pageant.

    They love the stimulation Flip Saunders brought to their offensive creativity. It's fun scoring in the 100s. It's much easier playing to the home crowd when the ball actually goes in the basket.

    But LeBron James and his loyal subjects in Cleveland taught the Pistons a valuable lesson -- never betray your true identity.
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