Game 3 Side Lines

Male of the Night

Tayshaun Prince. When Kobe Bryant is held to 13 points, under any circumstances, the primary Kobe defender has to get serious props. Hence our selection of Prince over the 50-point backcourt combo of Rip Hamilton and Chauncey Billups. Bryant couldn't even get to the line against Prince, attempting only three free throws and prompting Phil Jackson to soberly point out that Detroit has earned nearly twice as many trips to the line in the series. The free-throw count is 91-56 in the Pistons' favor, and Jackson -- while naturally frustrated with some of the officiating -- concedes that the disparity is a reflection of the teams' respective aggressiveness.

E-Mail of the Night

    You are still wrong about Joe Dumars being the Executive of the Year. You cannot be the Executive of the Year when you pass on a guy who will be one of the five best players in the league for the next 10 years. I don't care if the Pistons shock the Lakers. Passing on Carmelo Anthony disqualifies Dumars for any award.
    Z. Montoya
    Denver, Colo.

STEIN: On your ballot, maybe. Not on mine. The draft decision made sense for the Pistons even if they go on to lose these Finals. But since they're winning the series, your Bash Joe timing couldn't be worse. Darko Milicic and Carlos Delfino will have to fall well short of projections to convince me.

Speak of the Night
"They're human. They bleed just like us."
Detroit's Rasheed Wallace, when asked if the Game 3 outcome validated his assertion that the Pistons have never been scared of the Lakers.

Stat of the Night

In the 31 previous instances that the NBA Finals got off to a 1-1 start, the Game 3 winner went on to win the series 27 times. Nice little omen for the Pistons, huh? The Game 3 winner has won the championship each of the past nine times after a split in the first two games.

Stat of the Frightful

The Lakers' Phil Jackson, making his 10th appearance in the NBA Finals as a coach, is facing a 2-1 deficit for the first time. Jackson teams were 4-0 in Game 3s in his four previous Finals when the teams split the first two games.

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.