May 2006 Pistons articles *Frequent Updates*

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  1. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    [Charlotte Observer]


    11:05 am | Pack signee picks Seton Hall
    by KEN TYSIAC

    New N.C. State basketball coach Sidney Lowe suffered his first personnel loss when Christ the King Regional High senior Larry Davis committed to Seton Hall.

    Davis, a 6-foot-3 guard, had committed to N.C. State before coach Herb Sendek left for Arizona State. His mother, Regina Davis, said Friday that Larry chose Seton Hall because it was closer to his home in Middle Village, N.Y.

    Though Lowe has been hired by N.C. State, he won't officially start work until July 1. He is an assistant coach with the Detroit Pistons, who are playing the Miami Heat in the NBA's Eastern Conference semifinals.



    [THE FLINT JOURNAL]


    Saunders surprisingly goes to his bench early
    by Bill Khan

    AUBURN HILLS - Among the criticisms Detroit Pistons coach Flip Saunders has received during his team's recent struggles has been his reluctance to utilize his bench.

    So, it was somewhat surprising to see Saunders use 10 players in the first quarter Thursday, as the Pistons gained a 13-point lead en route to a 92-88 victory against the Miami Heat in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals.
  2. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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  3. LanierFan

    LanierFan Bench Warmer

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    [Associated Press]

    Game 3 Pivotal for Pistons and Heat
    Shaquille O'Neal wants the ball more, repeating his refrain from last season's playoffs. Dwyane Wade is growing increasingly frustrated about tactics the Detroit Pistons use against him defensively. Pat Riley made little effort to hide his disappointment in the lack of energy and effort that doomed the Heat in Game 2.

    All those tenets add another several levels of intrigue to Saturday's pivotal third game of the series, with the Heat and Pistons knotted at a game apiece.

    [Detroit Free Press]

    DREW SHARP: Pistons can't afford a fatigued Prince
    The Pistons' failure at developing a competent backup small forward to spell Prince could come back to bite them if a third straight trip to the NBA Finals follows a second consecutive seven-game marathon.

    "They count on him to do everything," Miami's Dwyane Wade said after Game 2. "Man, every time you turn around, you see him doing something to help them. He probably doesn't get the credit that he deserves."

    Detroit earned win, maybe not momentum
    It might have been Pat Riley's zone defense, their achy ankles or postseason weariness. Whatever the cause, a too-close-for-comfort fourth quarter Thursday might have left Pistons fans with uneasy relief, rather than self-assured conviction, heading into Game 3 tonight in Miami.

    [Why can a Miami reader see Detroit Free Press articles several hours before Detroiters do?]

    [DetroitPistons.com]

    DAVE WIEME: "Movement kills"
    That’s better. Move with the ball, move without the ball. I don’t really care, just move. So many things happen when you move, instead of just standing around. Remember speed kills, but speed can’t happen without movement.

    ELI ZARET: Piercing the aura of invincibility
    I’ve always believed that nothing of value ever does or ever should come easily, and as the Pistons climb another mountain this year, we tend to forget how difficult things were in the past.

    [Miami Herald]

    DAN LeBATARD: Heat wants series more than Pistons, but that won't matter
    Riley and Stan Van Gundy were taken aback by how broken O'Neal was after losing Game 7 to Detroit last season. O'Neal can be surprisingly sensitive, and he has talked about three rings being an underachievement. He wants to win without Kobe Bryant, badly. He's not interested in being merely considered today's most dominant player.

    And, yet, none of it really matters. Williams can't cover Billups, and Walker can't cover Tayshaun Prince. It isn't a lack of desire or effort. It's that Billups and Prince have unusual physical gifts to exploit their weak defenses. All of Haslem's desire hasn't kept him from shooting 1 of 12 in this series. What Rasheed has over Haslem is four inches, which is all it takes to separate great from good.

    Walker, Posey and Haslem have been outplayed so far this season by Pistons forwards
    The way the teams are constructed, it's not surprising the Pistons have a scoring edge at forward. But the margin has been disconcertingly lopsided not only in this playoff series, but also in the regular-season matchups.

    In the first two playoff games, the Pistons' starting forwards have outscored Miami's 63-30. Including all six games between the teams this season, the margin is 187-64.

    Team needs more motivation, says Riley
    ''I always felt motivation was a big part of this thing,'' Riley said. ``If the players feel this is important, the world champion San Antonio Spurs are no longer in the picture anymore, and they have a desire to win a world championship and they have to beat the last team that won a world championship before San Antonio, that should be enough motivation.

    "I should not have to hit a veteran team over the head. You paint the picture, you get them ready, and you turn them loose. You hope that isn't an issue. And I don't think it will be.''

    Self-motivation
    Wade bemoaned his nine turnovers in Game 2: ''I made some crazy plays that I normally don't make. [It was] just being careless with the ball.'' Wade said the Pistons do a good job changing their defensive looks, and they ''kind of shocked me'' with some of their sets.

    [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]​

    IRA WINDERMAN: A U-turn?
    No, Udonis Haslem is not having the best of series.

    At 1 of 12 from the floor, the Heat power forward has very much stood as a liability on the offensive end through the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals.

    [Palm Beach Post]

    GREG SKODA: Heat, Pistons don't like each other
    At one core, the Miami guys — Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O'Neal, most notably — think the Pistons are whiners. At the other core, the Detroit guys — especially its starting lineup with a champions' history — consider the Heat presumptuous.

    Here's how the Miami stuff goes: O'Neal says officials judge his play differently than they judge anyone else's simply because he's so massive, and gets frustrated. Wade chafes about how "we don't get credit" when beating the Pistons, and gets frustrated.

    Here's how the Detroit stuff goes: Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace, Tayshaun Prince and Ben Wallace — the aforementioned starting lineup — have big hardware to display, and bask in that proof of past superiority. They are unapologetically condescending.

    This is a volatile blend.

    Detroit concentrates on 'others'
    KEY BISCAYNE — For Detroit Pistons coach Flip Saunders, beating the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals is not about stopping Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade.

    It's about stopping everyone else.

    Wade wants to shake Hamilton in Game 3
    "I'm not a complainer," Wade said after Friday's practice. "Ya'll see it, ya'll watch the games. I don't complain about anything that goes on, but I will continue to try to get the ball the way I try to get the ball and make my moves. I'm not worried about what he does."

    Heat coach Pat Riley said that Wade's cool demeanor might belie the truth.

    "I think any offensive player that has somebody get into his cage, so to speak, and commits himself to him, and puts him in a position where he's got to work harder (is irritated)," Riley said.

    [This one's funny. You've got Gary Payton claiming that Hamilton would have been called for fouls "10 years ago" with his defensive tactics. Ten years ago, Payton was practically blackjacking NBA guards.]

    [Salon.com]

    King Kaufman's Sports Daily
    Shaq looked pretty strong Thursday, but give him time. The Big Diesel's got at least six and possibly eight more days of play a day, rest a day coming. He'll be leaking oil, or whatever it is big diesels leak, by the middle of next week.

    Payton and Co. will find their level somewhere between Tuesday's brilliance and Thursday's unbrilliance. Dwyane Wade is a great flaming pile of fantastitude, capable of making a difference in the series if the Pistons don't throw enough different effective defenses at him to knock him off his stride now and then, as they did Thursday.

    This series is already interesting, already starting to heat up, but I don't think we've really seen its character yet. By the time you get back to work after the holiday, I think we'll be talking about whether Detroit's been able to keep up the defensive intensity, how Shaq's holding up and the extent to which Wade has been able to run wild.

    And I don't think the returns will be overwhelmingly positive for Miami.

    [Off to a holiday tent sale. Have fun.]
  4. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    [HOOPSWORLD.com]


    Motown Soundtrack: The nitty gritty
    by Adriano Albuquerque

    There are a lot of points, mismatches, offensive and defensive schemes, set plays, etcetera, that have been cited over the last week regarding the current Eastern Conference Finals between the Detroit Pistons and the Miami Heat, tied 1-1 heading into Game 3 this Saturday night. It's all been said and seen, but it will all come down to two things:


    [The Grand Rapids Press]


    Expect Miami to turn up the Heat
    by David Mayo

    MIAMI -- Great stuff so far, this Pistons-Heat series, for that vast populace favoring games decided before the first timeout, useless cliches, free-throw shooters challenged to hit the rim, the ever-popular eight-second backcourt violation, and extreme enthusiasm about Ben Wallace layups.

    Welcome to Miami, where things invariably get hotter, and thank goodness for it, because nothing guarantees this gets any better.

    But testier?

    [Booth Newspapers]


    Pistons look at big picture after Game 2 win
    by Ansar Khan

    AUBURN HILLS -- They played with more energy after a day's rest and they shot better. They worked as a unit of five rather than looking for mismatches on isolations. And they got more quality minutes from their bench.

    Those are the things Detroit Pistons coach Flip Saunders is taking away from his team's 92-88 victory over the Miami Heat Thursday in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals.

    He's not dwelling on the 12-point lead that was reduced to two points in a span of 1:36 near the end of the game, in what was nearly a collapse of epic proportions. Saunders and his players are looking at the big picture as the series, tied 1-1, shifts to Miami for Games 3 and 4, tonight and Monday at American Airlines Arena.



    Big Ben's offense forces Miami to play honest
    by Ansar Khan

    AUBURN HILLS -- Detroit Pistons center Ben Wallace is perfect from the floor through two games against Miami in the Eastern Conference finals. He has missed only one shot in his last three playoff games.

    Of course, Wallace doesn't shoot often. He is valued for his defense and rebounding. But the first quarter of the Pistons' 92-88 Game 2 victory demonstrated why this team needs its energetic 6-foot-9 center to have the ball in his hands.

    Wallace converted three layups, scoring seven of his team's first 13 points to jump-start the offense. He finished with nine points on 4 of 4 shooting. He has made all seven of his shots in the series and 10 of 11 in the last three games.



    [The Oakland Press]


    No holiday vacation
    Pistons want to keep focused on Florida trip
    by DANA GAURUDER

    Tourists flock to Miami with the hope of enjoying a picture-perfect sunset. The Pistons arrived there Friday in search of a picture-perfect game.

    Take a snapshot of the Pistons right now, and there's no way to predict whether the camera will catch their good or bad side. The photo album for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference fi nals carried plenty of pretty pictures, but still too many still shots that they'd like to keep out of public view.


    Saunders looks for time off to supply mental sharpness
    by DANA GAURUDER

    Flip Saunders sounds more like a thoroughbred trainer than a pro basketball coach during the Eastern Conference Finals.

    Top-class horses are running fewer races now because trainers believe a fresh horse is a more effective runner. With the Pistons' conference title hanging in the balance, Saunders has opted to reduce his team's workload.


    What if Pistons could take '03 draft mulligan?
    by KEITH LANGLOIS

    AUBURN HILLS - If this is how it ends for this era of Pistons - if they aren't getting back to the NBA Finals, if they can only point to that 2004 championship banner hanging from The Palace rafters - then Darko Milicic is going to haunt them for at least the next decade.

    Or however long the careers of Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Wade, Chris Kaman, Kirk Hinrich and T.J. Ford play out.

    This is an excellent piece. Plenty of food for thought.
  5. LanierFan

    LanierFan Bench Warmer

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    [Associated Press]

    Wade Sends Heat to 2-1 Lead Over Pistons
    MIAMI (AP) -- The 12-point lead Miami held minutes earlier was whittled to a single point, and Antonio McDyess rose for a dunk that would have given the Detroit Pistons the lead and all the momentum. Dwyane Wade chose that moment to take over.

    "Guys look at me and say, 'It's your time,'" Wade said. "That's all you need."

    He blocked McDyess' dunk try, then had a three-point play 8 seconds later to end a huge Detroit run. The Heat went on to beat the Pistons 98-83 on Saturday night in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.

    "Play of the game," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said.

    [Detroit News]

    Miami too hot in Game 3
    The Heat only blocked two shots, but of the Pistons' 16 turnovers, eight of them came as a result of forsaking layups.

    This time, with the Pistons about to take the lead, McDyess went strong to the rim, was challenged by Wade and missed the dunk.

    Pistons notebook: Team doesn't like Hack-a-Shaq strategy
    MIAMI -- There was more grumbling in the Pistons locker room than usual following the Game 3 loss Saturday.

    The Pistons clearly didn’t like coach Flip Saunders' strategy to foul Shaquille O’Neal intentionally late in the game. With 4:28 left and the Pistons down by eight, Saunders ordered Ben Wallace to foul O’Neal. Rasheed Wallace was visibly upset, yelling, “Why?”

    O’Neal missed the two free throws, but neither Wallace nor Prince could grab the rebound. O’Neal got it, was fouled and made both free throws.
    Heat coach Pat Riley returned the favor, fouling Ben Wallace twice. Wallace made one of four free throws.


    [Detroit Free Press]

    DREW SHARP: Too many Pistons are no-shows again
    Asked if the Pistons suffered from an identity crisis, Lindsey Hunter paused, tellingly, perhaps because it struck a nerve very close to the truth.

    "Well, you could call it that," he said. "We're just not finding the right balance. We're not finding the right cohesion. Defense is supposed to be our specialty, yet we gave up like 60% shooting. How could we not keep feeding Rasheed the ball in the paint after he started the second half more aggressively wanting the ball?"

    There's a tug-of-war for the character of this team. And if the wrong side proves victorious, the Pistons won't make it out of this round, and the entire season would be branded a colossal failure.

    [Fox Sports]

    CHARLEY ROSEN: Pistons playing like imposters
    Who were those imposters wearing Pistons uniforms?

    They couldn't have been the team that prides itself on smooth, unselfish offense and belligerent defense. The impersonators who lost Game 3 in Miami 98-83 were strictly second-raters.

    On offense, the ersatz Pistons were stagnant. Except when Rasheed Wallace was stationed a step above the 3-point arc in the middle of the court, the Pistons seldom reversed the ball. But even when they did, Detroit gained no real advantages because when the ball moved, the players didn't. And vice versa.

    [Miami Herald]

    DAN LeBATARD: Wade handles Pistons, critics with equal skill
    This is what you get when Dwyane Wade is irritated.

    He doesn't like the Detroit Pistons. He has said flatly that there isn't an NBA team he likes less. They bump him when he isn't in the play, and they hit his legs when the refs aren't looking, and they moan about fouls called against them even though they get fewer fouls called against them than any team in the NBA. The Pistons always are surrounding the ref with bitter-beer faces, cursing and shouting at an old man as the free-throw shooter takes his place at the line without limbs, hemorrhaging so much that the sweat boys need extra mops to clean up the blood.

    [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

    DAVE HYDE: A bit of pretty poison
    On Saturday, O'Neal's muscle and Wade's flash went together like locked and loaded. They shot 75 percent together. They combined for 62 points. They had half the Heat rebounds and steals. They leaped tall buildings together, delivered right and left punches at the same time and knocked down Detroit in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals 98-83.

    [Palm Beach Post]

    GREG STODA: In this alley fight, Heat proves toughest
    hey got 31 points from Chauncey Billups and 20 more from Rip Hamilton, but very little from anyone else. Detroit, in fact, turned into the kind of two-man operation for which the Heat is so often criticized and was again with Wade scoring 35 points and O'Neal adding 27.

    The power game was nonexistent for Detroit, which managed all of five field goals from its starting front line. The Heat countered with 21 field goals from the same three starting positions.
  6. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    [The Grand Rapids Press]


    Pistons' bench still a mystery
    by David Mayo

    MIAMI -- More than 35 minutes of game time remained when Ben Wallace kicked out to Carlos Delfino for the first shot of the second quarter, and the Detroit Pistons turned over their king and walked away from the chess match.

    Game over, see you Monday.

    The peculiar relationship between this franchise and its bench has spanned three coaches in four seasons, each hired amid the anticipation he would improve that relationship. Larry Brown's decades of knowledge would supplant Rick Carlisle's obstinance. Flip Saunders' patience would override Brown's win-every-game indifference to the bigger picture.

    This is a great piece that echoes what I have been feeling for more than a year now.



    [Booth Newspapers]


    PLAYOFF PRIMER

    Highlights of the Detroit Pistons' 98-83 NBA playoff loss to the Miami Heat on Saturday:

    Key play: The Pistons began the fourth quarter with an 11-0 run, and had a chance to take the lead when Antonio McDyess missed a driving layup. On the ensuing Heat possession, Dwyane Wade scored while being fouled. The 3-point play triggered a 9-2 Miami run from which the Pistons were unable to recover.


    Wade plays familiar `no-respect' card
    by Bill Khan

    MIAMI -- Dwyane Wade has been borrowing a well-worn page out of the Detroit Pistons' operating manual lately.

    You know, that whole bit about getting no respect.

    Wade, Miami's star guard, addressed the issue again Saturday night before the Heat played the Pistons in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals at American Airlines Arena.


    Heat don't make mistake of not relying on Shaq
    by Bill Khan

    MIAMI -- This time, the Detroit Pistons didn't have Kobe Bryant to bail them out.

    When Shaquille O'Neal got hot early Saturday night, the Miami Heat didn't make the mistake Bryant committed two years ago in the NBA Finals against the Pistons.

    O'Neal, then a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, seemed to get shut out of the offense after some strong starts in that 2004 series. That, perhaps, was the final straw that led to O'Neal's departure from L.A. to Miami


    O'Neal, Wade lead Heat to series lead
    by A. Sherrod Blakely

    MIAMI -- Detroit Pistons point guard Chauncey Billups, for the first time in the NBA Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat, looked like his old self on offense.

    Unfortunately for the Pistons, the same could be said for Miami's Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade, whose play down the stretch was instrumental in the Heat taking a 2-1 series lead following a 98-83 victory on Saturday night.

    O'Neal, who grumbled about not getting enough offensive touches in Game 2, got plenty of point-blank passes on Saturday. That heavily factored in him scoring 27 points on 11-of-15 shooting from the field. And Wade again had his way offensively against all Detroit's defenders, tallying a game-high 35 points on 13-of-17 shooting from the field.


    [The Oakland Press]

    Miami's turn
    Heat are ones to survive late run in Game 3
    by DANA GAURUDER

    MIAMI - The Eastern Conference finalists are so evenly matched, they emulate each other's moves and mistakes.

    In Game 2, the Pistons suffered fourthquarter breakdowns and nearly gave away a double-digit lead. In Game 3, the Miami Heat survived the fourth-quarter yips.


    Big Ben should fetch big bucks
    by DANA GAURUDER

    MIAMI - Ben Wallace defends like no other player in the NBA. If the Pistons want to keep him, they may have to pay him like no other player in franchise history.

    Wallace is the biggest name among a weak crop of free agents this July. As a 10-year veteran, he could receive a maximum starting salary of $14 million, or 35 percent of the league salary cap.


    Too many parts failed for the Pistons
    by KEITH LANGLOIS

    MIAMI - Flip Saunders considered Chauncey Billups' curious two-week malaise and decided to give his point guard a pep talk. "Don't quit shooting," he told him in the Pistons' locker room.

    "And the whole locker room laughed," Saunders said before Saturday night's Game 3 against the Miami Heat. "He's not going to quit shooting. Chauncey, he's a confident individual."
  7. LanierFan

    LanierFan Bench Warmer

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    [Associated Press]

    Heat Lead, But Pistons Have Been Here
    The Pistons rallied from 2-1 deficits against both Indiana and Miami in last season's East playoffs, winning Game 4s in each of those series by an average of 11.5 points - then came back yet again against the Heat, overcoming a 3-2 deficit to deprive Miami of what would have been its first-ever trip to the NBA Finals.

    [Detroit News]

    Ben Wallace Blames Saunders
    s like night and day (from last year)," he said. "We've gone from like the first- or second-best team in the league in holding teams to low field-goal percentage to now we're in the middle of the pack. It's night and day."

    He put some of the blame on coach Flip Saunders for putting too much emphasis on the offense.

    "We work more on offense," Wallace said. "We practice more on the offensive end, than we do on the defensive end. What you practice hard you usually bring to the game."

    Rasheed vents his irritation
    When asked directly if Saunders was at the root of his frustration, Wallace said, "If it was about the coach, then I would say that. I ain't worried about that because I won't get fined for that. What had me frustrated last night (Saturday), I am not going to mention it. I am not going to get fined."

    Here's what the cameras didn't show. Wallace often times uses Saunders to vent to. During the course of the season when Wallace was angered by a call, instead of emoting at the official and risking a technical foul, he would yell and scream at Saunders.

    The same sort of thing appeared to happen in Game 3. Wallace wasn't frustrated with Saunders; he merely took his frustration out on Saunders.

    Riley: O'Neal is the catalyst
    O'Neal, who is 7-foot-1, burned the Pistons for 27 points and 12 rebounds during the Heat's 98-83 victory Saturday night in Game 3 at AmericanAirlines Arena.

    O'Neal's energetic Saturday night actually began the night before in the quiet of film study and in the hallways. He told teammates he was ready to be aggressive in Game 3 and that he wanted the ball.

    Terry Foster's Game 4 preview
    There is a different mind-set with the team and the Pistons are finding out it is not the right one. Players complained that the emphasis on offense has taken away from practice time on defense. We all see what is happening. The Heat are passing through the lane with little resistance. That's because the Pistons have cut back practice time on defense and focused too much on offense. Perhaps it is time for the Pistons to return to their roots before it is too late.

    [Check out the photo. It looks like Shaq is about to scoop Prince up and run off to some cave to eat him.]

    ROB PARKER: The time is now for Pistons to get nasty on defense
    At some point, you have to shut off what has been almost an open fountain of points from Wade, who is averaging 31 points.

    It's real simple. There can be no layups. If a player wants to take that route, he will feel it.

    BOB WOJNOWSKI: Pistons' defense must make a stand
    Defense matters more in the playoffs. The Pistons know it better than anyone. They've shown enough to know they still have it, but they don't seem to trust it as much. In their two victories, the Heat shot 56 and 58 percent.

    [Detroit Free Press]

    Pistons Corner: Prince feeling the Heat
    Miami Heat coach Pat Riley gave forward James Posey more minutes. Posey spent many of his 26-plus minutes contributing to a team-wide clamp down on Prince and Detroit's offense.

    As the Pistons' ball movement slowed -- evidenced by the team's 11 assists and 14 turnovers -- Prince's scoring opportunities evaporated.

    Sheed, don't be sheepish
    Wallace believes the Pistons' Game 3 flaws are correctable, even though the same cannot be said about his ankle injury, which he first suffered in Game 4 of the Cleveland series. Wallace said the pain intensified "a couple times" Saturday. He winced as he backpedaled after hitting one third-quarter three-pointer.

    "I'm all right, though," he said.

    DREW SHARP: Pistons suffer identity crisis as defensive mindset fades
    Wallace added that the difference between the Pistons' defensive approach this year from last year was "like night and day."

    The assessment comes across as a knock against Saunders, who is known more for his offensive schemes, but where is the players' accountability? They assured everyone that they didn't need Brown's pathological need for control. Brown harped on details to the point of over-saturation and, too often recently, the Pistons resemble a team lacking such attention to minutiae.

    "You can't go from where we were in Game 2 when we were so good defensively or Games 6 and 7 against Cleveland when we were so good defensively and then, all of a sudden, three days later, say that it isn't there," Saunders said.

    O'Neal as good as new
    Now the biggest question is if O'Neal can duplicate that performance in tonight's crucial Game 4 at American Airlines Arena. If he can, and Wade gets his usual 30 points, then the Heat would put itself in prime position to return to Auburn Hills with a commanding 3-1 series lead.

    If O'Neal can't, then Miami will need maximum performances from its role players, many of whom have had a seesaw series.

    [Miami Herald]

    Teams not on the same page
    One team looks suddenly like a fractured group of individuals. The other is playing more like a cohesive unit every game that passes.

    There's just one win separating the Heat and Pistons in these Eastern Conference finals, with Miami holding a 2-1 series advantage. But the Heat seems to be in a better position in more ways than the series tally can illustrate.

    [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

    IRA WINDERMAN: This is the time
    While the Heat voiced confidence Sunday, and while the Pistons continued to express doubts about the direction of the franchise under first-year coach Flip Saunders, this also is a Heat team that laid an egg in Game 2.

    If this truly is a title contender, a team with more veteran leadership than last season's roster, then Monday is the time to make a statement.

    [Palm Beach Post]

    Walker passes on bad shots
    In Game 2, when Walker was 1-for-7 on three-pointers, such an opportunity would have baited him into hoisting up an ill-advised three-point shot, which is what Detroit wanted. But this was Game 3, and Walker was playing smart. He gave a head fake to get his defender, Tayshaun Prince, up in the air, then drove to the basket.

    However, Walker, wasn't finished playing smart. Once in the lane, instead of finishing the play himself he tossed a gentle lob pass in the air, giving O'Neal a resounding alley-oop dunk.

    [Washington Post]

    MIKE WILBON: Brown Delivered. Can Saunders?
    Asked if the Pistons will be allowed to play the same kind of physical defense, Billups said: "No way. They put in all those rules, like the hand check, after we won the championship two years ago playing defense. Nobody wanted to see a defensive team in the Finals and winning. It's not as explosive. It's not as fun to watch. I don't like watching it either. I'm not mad at 'em. But you look at us against San Antonio last year. Two really good defensive teams in the Finals played seven games and got the worst ratings in history almost. Seven games. There hadn't been a seventh game in the NBA Finals in a lot of years, man. But look at the first-round series this year. Lakers-Phoenix and Washington-Cleveland had ratings out of the roof. They're running up and down the floor, no defense being played, shooting and running and gunning. That's fun to watch. So they put in those rules to keep it from being 89-85."

    Brown didn't have to contend with a league that doesn't find what the championship Pistons did to be aesthetically pleasing. Saunders does. But Brown's Pistons, in every round of the playoffs, found ways to fight back when they were behind. Saunders, shortsighted as it is, will be judged over the next few games on whether his team can do at least as well.
  8. LanierFan

    LanierFan Bench Warmer

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    [Detroit Bad Boys]

    It it ain't rough, it ain't right. And if it ain't right, well ...
    Don't get me wrong, I'm not completely down on this team or the way in which it was constructed. I'll take a balanced starting five over one or two superstars any day of the week — the "Jerry Stackhouse era" is all too fresh in my mind. But when the chips are down, this team needs a player to stand up and say, "I got this one," not several players looking at the next guy saying, "I bet he could do it — if the coach would only let him."

    And that's not on Saunders, but the guys actually playing the game.

    [New York Times]

    Pistons Becoming Prisoner of 3-Pointer
    In last season's N.B.A. finals, when the Pistons came close to repeating as N.B.A. champions, only to lose in seven games to the Spurs, there was a clear difference in each team's approach. The Spurs took a lot of 3-point shots, almost 18 a game, and made a lot of them — 40 percent. The Pistons kept their offense within the arc, attempting just under 11 shots a game from 3-point range and making a feeble 24 percent of those.

    This season, it has been a different story for the Pistons, and it looks as if they tore a page from the Spurs' playbook.
  9. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    [Need4Sheed]​



    Behind The Scenes Of Rip Hamilton's Boost Mobile Commercial


    [Detroit Bad Boys]


    If it ain?t rough, it ain?t right. And if it ain?t right, well?

    … maybe it's the coach's fault.
    The Florida writers are having a field day with the Pistons second-guessing Flip Saunders. Ethan Skolnick of the Sun-Sentinel writes:
    Everyone knows what the Pistons, trailing 2-1 to the Heat, should be doing differently.
    Rasheed from Philadelphia, kick it off. What's your view of the Hack-a-Shaq? "It never worked when [...]


    [The Oakland Press]


    Getting touchy
    Pistons' mood is sour going into Game 4
    by DANA GAURUDER

    MIAMI - Rasheed Wallace got overheated. Tayshaun Prince got frozen out. Those two elements mixed together turned the Pistons' offense to mush in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.

    If the Pistons do not get their starting forwards more involved in Game 4 tonight, their championship aspirations could evaporate in the humidity of Miami Beach. Trailing 2-1 in the series to the Miami Heat, the Pistons need a victory to avert the predicament of playing three straight season-saving games.



    Hack-a-Shaq a necessity?
    by DANA GAURUDER

    MIAMI - No one seems happy with the Hack-A-Ben and Hack-A-Shaq, but that doesn't mean those strategic manuevers will be shelved the remainder of the Eastern Conference finals.

    Flip Saunders used Hack-A-Shaq with the Pistons down eight points in the fourth quarter of Game 3, as Ben Wallace intentionally fouled Shaquille O'Neal with 4:28 remaining. O'Neal missed both free throws but the second try bounced all the way back to O'Neal, who got fouled again He made both of those free throws and then was removed from the game with 4:25 left.


    Stopping Wade needs to be top priority
    by KEITH LANGLOIS

    MIAMI - Defending Shaquille O'Neal is like preparing for a tornado. You load up on sandbags, reinforce the foundation, board up the windows and hope it hits somewhere else. It's a nightmare of anxiety, and it's an extraordinary burden to bear, but there are elements under human control to mitigate the damage.



    [Booth Newspapers]


    Saunders finding it's tough to fill experienced coaching shoes
    by A. Sherrod Blakely

    MIAMI -- When the Detroit Pistons were riding high atop the NBA's regular-season standings, much of the credit for their success went to Flip Saunders.

    Now, as the team faces a near must-win situation tonight against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals, Saunders is again the center of attention.

    His play-calling has come into question, and it isn't just by the media and fans, either.


    Pistons trying to figure out how to limit Wade
    by Bill Khan

    MIAMI -- Chauncey Billups hesitated, not quite sure if he believed what he was about to say.

    Who is the better player, he was asked: LeBron James or Dwyane Wade?

    "They're kind of similar, but D. Wade, he might be -- I don't know -- a little more dangerous because he's got a great mid-range game," Billups said. "He presents just as big a challenge, if not more, than LeBron."



    Pistons in familiar territory being down in series
    by Bill Khan

    MIAMI -- Here we go again.

    The Detroit Pistons find themselves in a familiar position, trailing 2-1 in the Eastern Conference finals to the Miami Heat heading into Game 4 tonight at American Airlines Arena.

    This seems to be the modus operandi for the Pistons, who have fallen behind in five of their last six playoff series.


    [The Grand Rapids Press]


    Key ingredient from Pistons' past is missing - defense
    by David Mayo

    MIAMI -- The face of the Detroit Pistons took the face-to-face question with an in-your-face answer. Yes, Ben Wallace agreed, teams play how they practice. Yes, the Pistons were a more combustible offensive machine this season.

    And yes, when they allow 58-percent shooting and free-wheeling dribble penetration to not only Dwyane Wade but Antoine Walker to entangle them in yet another dire must-win tonight, it is fair to suggest those two elements intertwine.
  10. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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  11. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    [Damn Game Recap from AP]

    Heat 89, Pistons 78
    by TIM REYNOLDS

    MIAMI (AP) — Dwyane Wade was practically silent in the middle two quarters, not even finding the opportunity to shoot against Detroit's zone defense.

    He awoke in the fourth, just in time to put the Miami Heat on the cusp of a trip to the NBA Finals.

    Wade scored 12 of his 31 points in the final quarter Monday night, when the Heat pulled away for an 89-78 win and a 3-1 lead over the two-time defending Eastern Conference champion Pistons.
  12. Milo Riano

    Milo Riano Second Round Draft Pick

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  13. LanierFan

    LanierFan Bench Warmer

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    Rally Re-Cap

    [SI.com]

    CHRIS MANNIX: These aren't the real Pistons
    Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the Pistons' utter collapse -- and that's what it is, a collapse -- this series has been the top-to-bottom meltdown of the players. Think about it: For all the issues surrounding the imminent departure of Larry Brown last season, rarely did you hear a Detroit player publicly criticize the coach. Even when SI's Jack McCallum broke the news last year that Ben Wallace was especially incensed at Brown's antics, you didn't hear a peep out of Big Ben. Just a "naw" and a shake of his head, as if the news that he and Brown were feuding came as this incredible revelation.

    MARTY BURNS: Fast Breaks
    Dud of the Night: Richard Hamilton, Pistons
    Let's just say he'll be glad to get out of Miami. Hamilton scored just 11 points (on 4-of-15 shooting) to go with one rebound, one assist and five turnovers as the Pistons once again failed to get their offense untracked. It was the second straight sub-par shooting performance for the All-Star shooting guard, who hit just 6-of-15 attempts in Game 3. Hamilton compounded his woeful night by failing to do much defensively to slow Wade, and then committing a bonehead flagrant foul in the final minute that sealed Detroit's fate. Rasheed Wallace was disappointing (again) as well, but we don't expect it from Rip.

    [Fox Sports]

    CHARLEY ROSEN: Two big reasons why Pistons are down 3-1
    How interesting that after Detroit went south in Game 3, the most vocal criticisms of Flip Saunders came from their two big men, Rasheed and Ben Wallace. Especially since both bigs have come up small since Game 1.

    MIKE KAHN: Pistons look to be finished
    "Now it's the moving on factor," Heat coach Pat Riley said. "We want to get to 12 wins. If they want it bad enough, they want to get to the finals. It would be a first for this franchise. I respect the Detroit Pistons franchise, but I think we're hungry and are going to go get it."

    [ESPN]

    DAILY DIME: Pistons face another brink job
    Chris Sheridan: As the only member of ESPN.com's NBA panel to pick the Miami Heat to win this series, I want to explain why I saw this coming. And make no mistake, the Heat are going to win this series, maybe in five games but probably in six, which would suit me just fine. Miami in six was my pick.

    What factored into my choice more than anything was what I saw out of the Pistons during the last round when I covered a good portion of the Detroit-Cleveland series. It was at the Q Arena during Game 6 -- a win for Detroit -- that I lost my faith in the Pistons.

    That was the game in which the Pistons grabbed three key offensive rebounds in the final minute-plus before Cleveland opted not to use its final timeout to set up a potential game-tying 3-pointer, missing its chance to close out that series.

    It was as pressure-packed a moment as there has been anywhere in the NBA this postseason, and what struck me was the way the Pistons couldn't put it away. Rasheed Wallace missed two jumpers and two free throws, and Chauncey Billups also yipped a free throw that would have put the Pistons ahead by four and sealed the win.

    They looked scared that night, and they were lucky to get out of there with a win. That's when I gave up on them. Scared and lucky is no way to win a title.

    [Detroit News]

    In hot water
    MIAMI -- Is this really how it's going to end? Just two years after winning the NBA title and being hailed for their dedication to team basketball, are the Pistons going to go out making public complaints about their coach, bickering with officials, playing with no sense of unity on offense and with their celebrated defense ripped to shreds?

    That's pretty much how it looks today after the Miami Heat knocked the discombobulated Pistons to the brink of elimination with an 89-78 victory in Game 4 on Monday night.

    Saunders answers criticism by players
    "My message to them?" Saunders said. "You want to talk about a lack of defense, yeah, there's a lack of defense because guys aren't doing what they're supposed to do. If I gave up 50 points in the paint (which the Pistons did in Game 3) and I gave up 13 straight-line drives to the basket when I am supposed to be guarding somebody -- I mean, these are things you learn in the sixth grade. Stay between your man and the basket.

    "If you can't do that, you are right, there is going to be a defensive lapse. This isn't about egos right now. This is about winning. If you have a job to do, go out and do your job."

    .... Saunders also had a rebuttal to Tayshaun Prince's complaint that Lindsey Hunter should have played more in the second half.

    "It's kind of ironic," Saunders said. "The reason we couldn't put Lindsey on the floor was because Tay wasn't scoring. I had to keep the starting guards on the floor."

    Game report
    "(Dwayne) Wade was phenomenal. He didn't have a lot of open looks. The shot he made out of the corner with the shot clock coming down, getting fouled at the end of the third quarter, those are shots that are demoralizing from the standpoint that he played good defense for 22 seconds and then he makes an unbelievable play."
    Pistons coach Flip Saunders, on Wade.

    Pistons go zone
    The Pistons started the second half in a scrambling zone defense that stymied the Heat. The Heat made just three baskets in their first eight possessions, one off an offensive rebound, and the Pistons were able to erase a six-point deficit and take a four-point lead.

    [Detroit Free Press]

    Beach bummer
    MIAMI -- It ended with Flip Saunders, the head coach who expected so much from his team Monday night, standing on the sideline as the seconds wound down. His hands were in his pockets. His expression was blank. He had said before that his team plays best when "irritable." This, apparently, was the best it could do.

    It ended with reserves Carlos Delfino, Tony Delk, Maurice Evans on the court, waiting for the final horn, as the sellout crowd of 20,248 taunted, boasted, and wailed on behalf of a team, the Miami Heat, that appears on its way to the NBA Finals for the first time.

    DREW SHARP: Pistons' blame game must end
    MIAMI -- Always searching for an outlet for their displeasure, the Pistons turned their critical fire away from their head coach and focused instead on a popular culprit -- their good friends in the striped shirts.

    The only disparity wider than the total number of free throws between Miami and the Pistons might be the 3-1 series deficit in which they find themselves.

    Real Time
    Free Press special writer Kyle O'Neill gives his take on the Pistons' 89-78 loss from the best seat in the house -- his couch.

    Pistons Corner: After players vent, Saunders gets a turn
    In general, Saunders did not appear disturbed or otherwise affected by his players' remarks from Sunday. "They gripe all year," he said. "Everybody just doesn't know about it. That's how players are."
  14. LanierFan

    LanierFan Bench Warmer

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    [Sports Inferno]
    TERRY FOSTER: Let's give players some grief for 3-1 deficit
    MIAMI – Do you really trust the Piston players to point you in the right direction?

    I sure don’t.

    They did a masterful job of throwing coach Flip Saunders under the bus. They made us all believe that it is not their fault they are losing to the Miami Heat in this series. It is the coach’s fault. And many of you will buy into it.

    [Booth Newspapers]
    "Nobody that's in this locker room is a quitter, no matter what the situation is, nobody can give up," said reserve guard Lindsey Hunter. "We still have to win a game. That's the bottom line. No matter how you look at it, you have to win games."

    Fouls hurt Rasheed, Pistons
    For all of Detroit's offensive balance, Wallace is the one player whose big nights seem to matter the most -- the Pistons have a 12-0 record in the playoffs the last three seasons when he's scored at least 20 points.

    Wallace scored seven points in the first 6:53 of the third quarter, hitting back-to-back shots to give the Pistons a 57-53 lead. Then came the fouls.

    Fourth quarter is Wade time
    After a quiet third quarter, Wade awoke to score 12 points in the fourth to carry the Miami Heat to an 89-78 victory against the Pistons Monday night at American Airlines Arena.
  15. LanierFan

    LanierFan Bench Warmer

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    [Pounding the Rock]
    7,052 Words About a Buncha Guys on Vacation
    The Detroit Pistons - This will sound out there, but I almost think they were more motivated to get revenge against us than they were about actually winning the championship. They got off to that great start thru the first 30 games and pretty much mailed in the rest of the season, playing just hard enough to keep home court.

    .... If you noticed, the worse we played against the Mavs, the worse the Pistons played against Cleveland. We got down 3-1; they got down 3-2. We won two in a row; so did they. We lost Game 7 and all the air went out of the Pistons balloon, and they laid a big stinker at home vs Miami, in Game 1. No way they lose that game if we're still alive. All their fire and intensity is gone now that we're done. They don't have the same incentive to beat the other teams. It truly is anyone's championship to win now. For the life of me, I can't pick one team over the other. All I know is, that no team can permit the other team's two best players to shoot a combined 75%, no matter how good they are, as was the case in tonight's Game 3, and claim to be a top notch defensive club.
  16. Slippy

    Slippy All-Star Administrator Forum Donor

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    [the oakland press]

    Defeat most foul
    By DANA GAURUDER
    Of The Oakland Press

    MIAMI - The Pistons got that touchy feeling again. At least, the officials seemed to think so.
  17. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    [The Oakland Press]


    Saunders ignores player implications
    by DANA GAURUDER

    MIAMI - Flip Saunders saw all the criticisms his players leveled against his coaching strategies and philosophies prior to practice Sunday. He essentially had one message for them before Game 4: Shut up and play.

    "As a coach, I make decisions," he said. "I have to live by the decisions. As players, they play, and they have to implement what we do."


    Can Pistons fight back when they're fighting themselves?
    by KEITH LANGLOIS

    MIAMI - For all the big games the Pistons have played these last four years, for the NBA title they won two years ago and for the one they came agonizingly close to capturing last summer, they've never looked so powerless to push back against momentum.



    [NY Post]


    SUNS SETTING IN WEST
    by Peter Vecsey

    Meanwhile, not all was sunshine and skittles in Jimmy Hoffa Farmland, as the Pistons looked to even their Eastern Bloc Final at Miami last night.


    [Blue Collar Blueprint]


    Piercing the aura of invincibility
    by Eli Zaret

    I’ve always believed that nothing of value ever does or ever should come easily, and as the Pistons climb another mountain this year, we tend to forget how difficult things were in the past.


    [Need4Sheed]


    Get Pumped, The Pistons Can Do This!

    The Pistons are in a bad way, down 3-1 in the Eastern Conference Finals. They can pull this out, it's happened before and it can happen again. I could %%%%% and moan about what is wrong and why we are down but I am going to use my negative energy and turn it into positive thinking. I have already pumped myself up for tomorrow's game and the rest of the series. Everyone needs to take a deep breath and get ready for a dogfight.

    True Pistons fans need to do what they have to, and everyone else needs to get off the Bandwagon.

    If you need further inspiration here is a widescreen video of The Pistons Pre Game Introductions. Put on your colors, put on your game face, turn up the volume and get ready for gametime. GO PISTONS!



    [Yahoo! Sports]

    Fire Flip for Detroit flop
    by Dan Wetzel

    AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – Flip? He's flopped.

    And unless Flip Saunders immediately regains control of the spiraling Detroit Pistons, he should be fired just one season into taking over what seemed to be the ultimate coaching job – in charge of the most selfless, self-motivated team in basketball.

    The failures of Detroit, which trails the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals 3-1 heading into Wednesday's Game 5, aren't all Saunders' fault, but he will be the fall guy. He has to be.


    [True Hoop]


    Detroit is Cooked

    I have a dark feeling the Pistons won't even get this to seven games. Something inside that team has broken, and we might not ever know what it was. (I'm already starting to wonder what this team will look like next year. Same coach? And will they really give gimpy-wristed Ben Wallace a seven year deal worth well over $100 million? If they won't what will this team look like?) It's a crying shame, too, for a million reasons that Pistons fans could tell you about more than I could, but also because these playoffs were so exciting in the first two rounds, and now we need a win from a busted up Phoenix team tomorrow to even have one close series in this all-important penultimate round.


    [Miami Heat]


    Past sins
    by Ira Winderman

    For a franchise that has endured 17 previous seasons of falling short, Wednesday night not only is about the Heat embracing championship possibilities, but also of getting past the heartbreak of last year's Eastern Conference finals, when Detroit not only overcame a 3-2 series deficit to advance, but did it with a Game 7, winner-take-all victory at AmericanAirlines Arena.

    But to Heat players, it's about more than that.

    Still vivid is the scene after Detroit came back to take last season's series finale, the celebration at midcourt, the posturing by forward Rasheed Wallace, the finger waving of guard Chauncey Billups.

    All on the Heat's home floor.

    Such is the entitlement of a winner.

    But it also provides ample motivation for Game 5 of this series.
  18. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    [San Jose Mercury News]


    Offenses usurping the authority of tough defensive teams in playoffs
    BY DAVID ALDRIDGE
    Knight Ridder Newspapers

    MIAMI - For the last two decades, just about every team that has won the NBA Finals has been the league's best defensive team. And on that team there has been a player - or players - considered among the best defenders at his position.

    The `80s Lakers had Michael Cooper. The Celtics had Kevin McHale and Dennis Johnson. The Pistons had Dennis Rodman and Joe Dumars. The Bulls had Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen - and, in their second Threepeat, Rodman. The Rockets had Hakeem Olajuwon. The Spurs had David Robinson and have Bruce Bowen. And the new-millennium Lakers had Kobe Bryant and Rick Fox.

    Which is why this season, in so many ways, represents a sea change in the NBA.

    ^^^ This is an incredibly disturbing article for Pistons fans. Must read.


    Diva-like Pistons missing the fire
    BY DREW SHARP
    Detroit Free Press

    DETROIT - The ultimate team has fallen victim to the ultimate tease.

    Hubris run amok has pushed the Pistons to the edge of a collapse considered unthinkable barely three weeks ago.

    They believed there wasn't a force in the NBA determined enough or selfless enough to take them down, but that blinded them from the only enemy capable of defeating them - themselves.


    Just call Dwyane Wade the economical scorer
    BY ETHAN J. SKOLNICK
    South Florida Sun-Sentinel

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Dwyane Wade has done his share of the spectacular already during this Eastern Conference finals.

    No flip, block or dunk has been more spectacular, however, than his efficiency.

    Wade is having one of the most economical offensive playoff series in NBA history, represented by the high percentage of shots he has made and by the low number of shots he has needed to post a large number of points.


    Pistons' McDyess faces heartbreak
    BY SHAWN WINDSOR
    Detroit Free Press

    DETROIT - He sat on the bench and stared into nothing. His teammates were gone. The crowd had mostly left. But Antonio McDyess didn't move.

    He didn't frown. He didn't curse. He didn't say a word.

    He clasped his hands behind his head as he cut a now-fitting repose, a look of disbelief, a look that may well define his team's playoff run.

    And that was two weeks ago, before things really turned sour, before the NBA nation witnessed a team unraveling, a team a loss away from next year.

    Maybe Dice should start playing to win instead of playing to lose. I was a big fan but he's really been no assistance helping the Wallaces.



    Pistons just looking for one victory

    BY MICHAEL CUNNINGHAM
    South Florida Sun-Sentinel

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - At this point the Detroit Pistons just want to beat the Heat on Wednesday night.

    It's not about how they've come back from 3-1 deficits in the past. Their historical resiliency isn't the focus for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals on Wednesday night at The Palace.

    The Pistons just need a victory. Game 6 would be Friday at AmericanAirlines Arena, but no need to consider that with the way things are going for Detroit.


    [Canoe.ca]


    Heat ready to bounce Pistons
    By TIM REYNOLDS

    MIAMI (AP) - Heat owner Micky Arison talked to Alonzo Mourning in the parking garage after Miami took command of the Eastern Conference final with a Game 4 win. The message was simple, and it struck Mourning deeply.

    "He said, 'Make sure you remind those guys how they celebrated last year on our home court,' " Mourning said. "That was it. "I think enough was said in that alone. And I haven't forgotten. Our owner hasn't forgotten. For him to bring that up and remind me, obviously that's been on his mind for a while."

    Motivation. Who has it. Who wants it bad enough. Let's hope we don't have to watch our team learn humility the hard way.
  19. LanierFan

    LanierFan Bench Warmer

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    [Fox Sports]

    Pistons may have dug one too many holes
    The two-time defending Eastern Conference champions have regularly rallied to advance in the past, though not against a team as talented, cohesive and healthy as this version of the Heat.

    "We put ourselves in this position so many times. Obviously it's catching up with us," Detroit forward Tayshaun Prince said. "But it's not over."

    Heat relish chance to get past Pistons
    MIAMI (AP) - Heat owner Micky Arison talked to Alonzo Mourning in the parking garage after Miami took command of the Eastern Conference finals with a Game 4 win. The message was simple, and it struck Mourning deeply.

    "He said, 'Make sure you remind those guys how they celebrated last year on our home court,"' Mourning said. "That was it. I think enough was said in that alone. And I haven't forgotten. Our owner hasn't forgotten. For him to bring that up and remind me, obviously that's been on his mind for a while."

    [Detroit News]

    Miami vise
    "Maybe I should rent the movie 'Space Jam' and see how they got their mojo back," Saunders joked.

    He can joke because he knows the perception of his team is much harsher than the reality.

    In the last couple days, several players have come to him to apologize for how some of their comments have played. There has been a concerted effort among the leaders, primarily Chauncey Billups, to close ranks and draw upon the unity and trust that had been built the last four seasons.

    Terry Foster's Game 5 preview
    During their 2004 championship season, the Pistons averaged 84.5 points. In 2005, they averaged 90.6. In the first seven games of these playoffs, they averaged 106 points.

    During this recent slump, they are scoring 82.1. Somewhere, an entire quarter of offense has disappeared.

    Pistons get day off
    The Pistons don't like it. Ben Wallace grumbled about it after Game 4. But the simple truth is, the zone defense the Pistons deployed in the third quarter worked.

    And there is a good chance they will play it some more tonight.

    Prince likes sneaking up
    Although Prince stands 6-foot-9 and has the wing span of a man much taller, he doesn't draw command in a room or much attention on a chalk board from coaches.

    Prince likes it that way because he wants to sneak in the back door at night when his opponents are sleeping and unaware.

    Pat Riley, however, knows all about Prince now. And he knows where he is -- always.

    Pistons haven't given up; neither should their fans
    AUBURN HILLS -- Don't quit on the Pistons. If they are going to go down to the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals tonight, you should go down with them.

    This team has fought too hard the past three years for its fans and city to run and hide as soon as the going gets tough.

    Dissension also takes a toll on reeling Pistons
    The players wanted more control and more credit after Larry Brown departed, and that's what they got. So they can't skip responsibility now, starting with the leaders, Ben Wallace and Chauncey Billups. It's up to them to pull this together.

    This four-year run has been a joy to watch, which is why the collapse is so staggering. This is a team that dined regularly on adversity, which outfought everyone. Now it reaches for handy excuses, and there are plenty available.

    Rasheed, Lowe to keep in touch
    "We're going to beat (them), and when we do, he can't duck me -- I don't care where he is," Wallace continued. "I am going to call his cell phone, fax him, write him, e-mail him, call his assistants, call his secretary at the basketball office, call his house phone, send him FedEx packages with a big NC logo and the final score on it. He's going to know he got whupped.

    "So you go ahead and take that job. You're going from winning to losing. You'd be better off going to the University of Wyoming or something. But no, you're going right into the lion's den."

    [Detroit Free Press]

    Zone slows Wade -- for a bit
    Miami's Dwyane Wade can create, to be sure. Because of his dynamic play, and perhaps due in some part to the Pistons' foul trouble -- five players had four or more fouls -- Saunders deployed a zone defense in the third quarter of Game 4, with some success.

    Wade did not score from the field in that period.

    MITCH ALBOM: Cold reality: Maybe Heat can't be beat
    Here's a new idea: The Miami Heat is the better team. Dwyane Wade tops anyone on the Detroit roster. Shaquille O'Neal is unstoppable. The Heat plays smarter offense, more timely defense, it is better coached and hungrier.

    If the Pistons don't like hearing this, they can do something about it. They can win tonight. And Friday night. And Sunday night. Otherwise, this is what they'll be hearing all summer. The Heat is better. Not luckier. Not healthier. Better.

    Saunders scrambles to recover team's mojo, avoid elimination
    ter the criticisms, Saunders said Tuesday that some of his players -- he would not name them -- approached him to say that what others had done was not right.

    "Deep down, the players know, just like the coaches," Saunders said. "Everyone knows what's going on."

    [Houston Chronicle]

    Heat force Pistons to stagger instead of swagger
    Only eight of the 165 teams to have trailed an NBA playoff series 3-1 have come back to win it. The Pistons trailed the Cavaliers 3-2 in the Eastern Conference semifinals heading to Cleveland and turned the series around. They would need a win tonight at the Palace of Auburn Hills just to get back to that tough spot.

    "I feel we're coming back (to Miami)," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. "There's no reason we shouldn't go back and play well at home."

    [The Florida Papers]

    PALM BEACH POST: Heat up 3-1, but this is far from over
    Anybody who thinks Detroit isn't capable of winning Game 5 on its own court in The Palace is delusional. It's a six-point favorite tonight, by the way.

    "We understand what kind of situation we're going into," Heat forward Udonis Haslem said. "A full-court fight."

    SOUTH BEACH SUN-SENTINEL: Heat's success has superstitious at a loss
    Remember that shot by the Knicks' Allan Houston? Remember Alonzo Mourning's fight? Remember Jamal Mashburn passing the season to Clarence Weatherspoon? Remember how Mourning's disease threatened his life as well as this franchise's future?

    You spent years on a couch trying to forget. Denial has its benefits. But now you touch your box of horseshoes. You count your collection of four-leaf clovers. You call the Heat offices for the sixth time this hour to check that Dwyane Wade is safe and suggest Shaquille O'Neal get a CT scan, you know, just to be sure.

    MIAMI HERALD: Israel Gutierriez
    As it became evident that the Pistons would advance to the 2005 NBA Finals and the Detroit bench erupted with excitement, Dwyane Wade watched.

    As the AmericanAirlines Arena floor was being roped off, not for the home team but for the visiting team to celebrate, Wade noticed.

    As the Pistons wore their Eastern Conference champion hats and walked off with their conference title trophy to the visiting locker room for more rejoicing, Wade took note.

    To Wade, last year's Game 7 loss to the Pistons in the Eastern Conference finals was made all the more painful because it occurred on his home floor.

    It's why Wade and the Heat would like to close out the Pistons tonight, in The Palace of Auburn Hills, to return the favor.
  20. LanierFan

    LanierFan Bench Warmer

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    [Detroit Bad Boys]

    Flip fires back
    When I launched this site back in October, the very first post included this quote from Chauncey Billups:

    The Pistons need to man up and take responsibility. No more "Flip didn't do this, Flip didn't do that" — if they lose this series, it's on the players and only the players.

    ALSO:
    Maceo Baston
    ‘Put up or STFU’ time for the Boys in Blue

    [Motoring]

    Hang on in there
    As I watched the Suns crush the Mavs earlier, the Mavericks put Dampier in randomly. There was a question as to why he was put in. Doug Collins came up with an explanation for it: “Dampier has to get ready to face Shaq”. Sorry, I don’t buy it. I’ve seen this Piston team come back from far too much to even consider that they’re going to lose this series. Can they beat the Heat three times in a row? Sure. Can they win three games in a row where it’s eight on five every night out? To steal a cut Pink Floyd lyric, “With our backs to the wall”, yes. I still believe!

    [MLive.com]

    A. SHERROD BLAKELY: Regular season success means little ...
    The way Dwyane Wade is playing now, it would take weeks for Detroit to break down what it has to do to make him less dominant. Unfortunately for the Pistons, they don't have that kind of time.

    But that's probably going to change possibly as early as Tuesday night. Because Detroit, as resilient a team as they have been, have done very little in this series to make anyone believe they'll win another game, let alone three.

    And when training camp opens next season, they'll try and use this disappointing series as added motivation. But instead of focusing so much on home court, their sights need to be set on gradually getting better.

    Full-Court Press
    Yahoo Sports columnist Dan Wetzel says if the Pistons end up losing the series to the Miami Heat then Flip Saunders should lose his job as head coach.
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