Game 1 Side Lines

Male of the Night

Chauncey Billups. I prefer playmakers to shot-takers at quarterback, but Detroit needed an offensive boost with Rip Hamilton hushed by Kobe Bryant and Rasheed Wallace chained to the bench for much of the first half thanks to early foul trouble. Billups responded with 22 points on just 14 shots, and only two turnovers.

E-Mail of the Night

    Referring to a column you wrote last week, if Sam Cassell wants to talk about injuries and hypotheticals, does he remember that the Wolves needed seven games to beat a Kings team that didn't have the injured Bobby Jackson? Injuries are part of the game.
    Pat King
    Janesville, Wisc.

STEIN: You make a valid point that certainly softens Sam I Am's claim after Game 6 that Minnesota would have undoubtedly beaten the Lakers if he had been healthy. But I'm a fan of loquacious point guards, so I'm not going to bash Sam for thinking he's good enough to have changed the series by himself. Not going to bash Sam I Am for putting his bravado in print. We like that in the journalism game.

Speak of the Night
"Have you watched us before? There you go."
Detroit's Elden Campbell, when asked if the Pistons surprised themselves by holding the Lakers to just 75 points and dealing L.A. its first home defeat of the playoffs.

Stat of the Night

This is the fifth time the Lakers have lost Game 1 of the NBA Finals at home. The bad news for Detroit: L.A. has gone on to win the championship in each of the previous four occurences, including the 2001 Finals against Larry Brown's Philadelphia 76ers. Only once, after those previous four Game 1 losses in the Finals, did the Game 1 winner take the Lakers to seven games: Detroit in 1988. The three other times it happened, L.A. went on to win the next four games.

Stat of the Frightful

Seven Lakers were held to five points or less, with Karl Malone and Gary Payton combining for seven points on 3-for-13 shooting.

Marc Stein is the senior NBA writer for ESPN.com. To e-mail him, click here. Also, click here to send a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.