AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Kobe Bryant is finding out the same thing that NBA superstars such as Reggie Miller and Tracy McGrady
discovered when they took on Tayshaun Prince.
With a slender 6-foot-9, 215-pound body and incredibly long arms, the Detroit defender is tough to score against.
In the two wins by Prince and the Pistons over the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals, Bryant has made just 14 of 40 shots.
In the Lakers' victory, Bryant made 14 of 27 attempts, including
the overtime-forcing 3-pointer -- over Richard Hamilton -- with 2.1
seconds left in regulation.
"I try not to let him catch the ball in spots where he likes to get the ball," Prince said Friday. "When he does get it, I just try to keep him in front of me, and make him take tough shots."
With a 2-1 lead, the Pistons will host Game 4 on Sunday night
and Game 5 on Tuesday.
Prince acknowledged he's reluctant to receive too much publicity
for his play against Bryant.
"It doesn't do nothing but make that guy a lot more hungry to
come out and play a lot more aggressive," he said.
In Thursday's loss, Bryant didn't make a field goal until midway
through the third quarter and was held to a playoff-low 11 points
on 4-for-13 shooting.
Bryant missed 17 of 27 shots and scored 25 points in Game 1,
which Detroit won 87-75. He scored 33 in the Lakers' overtime
victory in Game 2.
"In the first game, I was able to make an adjustment to his
length and he came back in the second game with a better effort,"
Bryant said. "In the third game, they made the adjustment whereas
when I get by him to go pull a jump shot, they have another
When the series was in Los Angeles, Prince spoke to students at
Dominguez High School in nearby Compton, where he was a star
basketball player before attending Kentucky.
At times, N.W.A.'s 1990 rap hit "Straight Outta Compton"
blares at The Palace after Prince swats a shot, or makes one.
"There's definitely a lot of Lakers fans in Compton," he said.
"But since I've played for the Pistons, there are a lot of people
out there that are cheering for me -- and the Pistons. Then, there
are people who are cheering for me, but want the Lakers to win."
Prince is an anomaly in the NBA.
The lanky small forward has a college degree after staying four
years at Kentucky.
As a rookie last year in the first round against Orlando, Prince
went from sitting on the bench to playing a key role in Detroit's
run to the conference finals.
Prince shut down McGrady, a key reason Detroit became just the
seventh team in NBA history to win a series after trailing 3-1.
"To get some experience against a guy like that definitely
helped me," Prince said. "Not just in this series against a guy
like Kobe, but it helped me in the first round, second and third
"I've been facing some tough guys in this whole playoff run."
Prince slowed down Indiana's Ron Artest in the Eastern
Conference finals after doing the same for the most part against
New Jersey's Richard Jefferson and Milwaukee's Desmond Mason.
It was startling when Prince emerged as standout defender in the
playoffs last season because he played just 42 regular-season games
after being the 23rd pick of the draft.
"The good thing was nobody got to see me play before the
Orlando series," he said. "The next year, guys knew what I was
capable of doing so with my first 82-game season, I had an
Prince was put in the starting lineup and ranked fourth on the
team with 10.3 points and 4.8 rebounds. He also was a big reason
the Pistons broke records on defense this season, and in the
In Game 2 of the conference finals against Indiana, Prince may
have made the most spectacular defensive play of the postseason.
He was several steps behind Miller when he sprinted in from
midcourt and made a perfectly timed block to lift the Pistons to a
"Tayshaun Prince has been great for us during the playoffs, and
I don't think we would be here without him," Pistons president of
basketball operations Joe Dumars said Friday.